Monday, 26 April 2010
Following on from my post at the arse end of last week, I thought I'd briefly touch on the role and place of Coloured people in South Africa as I see it.
During the horrors of Apartheid Coloureds were used as a buffer between Whites and Africans, indeed modern demographic data of areas of South Africa with large Coloured populations shows Whites towards the centre of urban conurbation's, then Coloureds with Africans on the very outskirts. Even though Apartheid has been over for some time, it has taken far longer for the damaging impacts of racist social engineering to work themselves out and the Coloured community has suffered far greater upheaval since the end of Apartheid.
During Apartheid Coloureds were seen, perhaps obviously as they literally were, the bastard children of the Whites, not racially pure of course but because of their origins closer to Whites in terms of genetic make-up than the Africans. The Whites adopted a staunchly patriarchal and protective attitude of the fatally flawed Coloured, the living embodiment of the mark of Cain in modern Africa, their bastardised and brutal offspring.
This actually meant that Coloured families were in a far better position than African ones in Apartheid South Africa, albeit patronised and demonised, treated as if some mentally retarded and behaviourally dysfunctional family member that must be looked after at all costs.
But upon the collapse of Apartheid, the network of support, benefits, social engineering and protectionism ended and Coloureds were left as equals with all, no longer under the disapproving but watchful eye of the White authorities, left to their own devices.
The harmful White perpetuated myths of Coloureds as skollie, as errant and disobedient children, lazy, churlish, unable to work, easily swayed by alcohol, sex and idleness; pervaded South African society, so that although Apartheid was over perceptions of Colouredness were still framed in those terms.
Many Coloureds perceive themselves still in these terms, certainly many African and White South Africans do and as the country changes, many Coloured people are being left behind in huge swathes as the safety net falls away from them and deeply engrained perceptions of self are proving destructive to betterment in post-Aparthied South Africa.
Since the end of Apartheid division of wealth in South Africa has been steadily moving towards parity between Whites and Africans but not Coloureds, who are struggling to make-up ground as their identity and culture lays in tatters about them.
South Africa will not be whole again, or the great nation it can be, until Coloured people can genuinely stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters.