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PeterTracey
 
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Coloured

11 January 2013, 15:29

Some are direct descendants of the great San nation that occupied the southern lands of South Africa, some are descendants of the Malaysian slaves that were brought from Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company as a slave resupply station for ships traveling between Europe and Asia. (Eventually they were also used for the digging of railway lines, building, planting vineyards, tending gardens, cooking and cleaning for the European immigrants who were starting to flock to Southern Africa in their thousands. They were the group that first introduced Islam to South Africa; the Muslim community in Cape Town remains large and vibrant. Some are a mix of them all.(they make up 48% of the population in Cape Town).

Contrary to popular belief, not all speak Afrikaans, their views are as diverse as their heritage and it is not uncommon for members of the same household to back different political parties, If any generalization can be made it is this: they are a friendly, God-fearing, God-loving people (as in religious, whether Christian or Muslim), until you rub them up the wrong way, then you see the side of the mixed blood that wakes up the worst of both the White and Black bad genes. Even from the days of Adam Kock, there were people within their ranks (often of highly questionable motives and leadership abilities) who have stepped forward claiming to be their representatives, be it in Government or other such offices, none could prove genuine membership from their so-called followers, where they had followers, they were too few to have been mentioned. But the government of the day was always eager to inject a measure of respectability, a measure of legitimacy into its leadership, and there were (and are always) puppets to be found for that exact purpose.

It is often claimed by the colonizers that their enslavement was for their own good, that the barbarism they endured from their gun-wielding conquerors was a requirement for instilling “civilization” into them, that they would have slept soundly like Rip van Winkles for centuries without having the intelligence to mine and use the rich mineral resources beneath the soil (to uplift and enrich themselves) – but, what really had they lacked without all that? Did they not own enough arable, fertile grazing and farming land before the “civilized” ones took it away? Did they not own enough livestock (hunting if need be) and free to roam at their leisure the lengths and breadths of our lovely, rich land ? The National Party’s divide and rule racist policies gave these people a label, a name, they put everyone into their boxes, in so doing, often dividing/separating families - judged by the shallowest way possible, by the mere shade or tone of their skin, by the curls on their heads, or lack thereof….they were named “Coloured” and their alienation from their ancestral land picked up speed, they continue to be punching bags in certain quarters’ where they are still employed in piecemeal fashion and paid with a bottle of wine . Most astounding is the fact that they’ve seen some extremely tremendous successes in the academic, sports and entertainment arenas even with the challenges they face.

Me, I see myself firstly as a human being, I am not confused, instead of playing victim I try to participate, get involved in the national dialogue, I do not deny, nor am I ashamed of my mixed race heritage, though hardship is nothing to be proud of, and nor do I ever glamorize township life, I’m proud of the dignity with which so many of my people carry themselves. I look forward to the future Together this time, with Whites, Blacks and Indians (Whites & Indians that I’d not known until I started working as a young adult) even though it will no doubt test all our patience until we can find a way to both address the inequalities created by our past, And find a solution towards creating a truly free, country with equal opportunities for us all, a country in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.

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