Monday, 26 April 2010

Coloured Souls

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.


  1. A revealing post. On what do you base these comments--observations? friends? news? I'm just curious because you seem to capture the perspective that is missing from the typical stories coming out of South Africa. Thanks.

  2. That was really interesting.

    Is the plight of coloureds measurable in economic terms, or was your post about psychology as something Fanon would talk about?

  3. Jess:

    I base them upon research, as Eva-Jane is South African I have embarked upon an educational quest and also the observations of her family and those that know the country. And you last comment is why I'm reading and writing about the fine nation, to capture elements untold by our media.


    It is measurable in economic terms, the latest data I read gave Coloureds 8% share of the economy, Africans 40% Whites 48% and Indians 4%.

    Coloureds also make up the majority in prisons in South Africa.

    And let us not forget that the psychology of it is also enough.

  4. This is really interesting if not sad Dan. I saw a photography exhibition so not long ago about South African gangs..really interesting but really sad at the same time and picked up on some of the points you raise here. Thanks

  5. Well thanks for stopping by Sara and having a read, I do my best.

  6. I found this article wanting to explain to some Americans and English people that Coloured in SA is a designated ethnic group and not a derogatory term as it is in their countries. I am coloured and proud of it.

    As a coloured man myself coming from a coloured neighbourhood,and still living there, the truth of the matter is that your article speaks volumes. This is especially true for me from MY experience.

    Anyway, I can confirm, first hand, that the psychology in my people is exactly what is keeping them from making a success in their lives and their community. The apartheid system left a blight on my people that, i fear, can never be removed.

    I am not sure whether your critics are coloured themselves but I would assume they are. My first instict was to defend my people as they did,and i can understand why the questions arose. But the sad truth is that we can only implement a successful change if we acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place.

  7. Hi Zach Boy and Daniel and the rest. I'm Donny. I can not agree more with you guys. I grew-up and live in a typical "coloured *area" called Kewtown in the Athlone area. Social issues are worrying. Zach you almost drove me to tears with your worry if our people are ever gonna become a normal functioning people. Poverty, drug-abuse, gangsterism etc. My house is situated opposite a certain spot from where gangsters hang-out and some shootings occur from. I started a small program where I reach out to young boys in my area in different social and educational ways. Because I'm streewise myself, I also interact and speak to gangsters and shooters in the area with the hope of changing mindsets in some way. Affirmative action and druglords are the coloured persons worst nitemare today. Both are apartheid attrocities brought over us by the previous regime. With the current government just worstening things. Let us not keep apartheid alive by voting on the basis of skin colour but rather on who the party is that will really work with and for the people in order for us coloured people to be drawn into the equasion. We as coloured people should also do things for ourselves. Start small businesses etc. There are lotsa oppurtunities around us. Start lifting your backsides and stop waiting to be taken by the hand. With very little education I proved that to myself and others by getting self-employed and growing in my life and can now educate my children properly and also financially help others in my area with educational concerns. It is true that we as "Cape Flats people" should start standing shoulder to shoulder and in and around us change our communities and mindsets. Let us as with our deep embedded roots here in the Cape become a proud people again. Your growth and future starts with you. Its never too late to be a somebody again. Lekke jy!!


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