Khoi-San: Abolish the term 'coloured'

2013-05-24 14:36
Khoisan men sing during a poster unveiling of a new name for Cape Town in honour of deceased leader Dawid Kruiper. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Khoisan men sing during a poster unveiling of a new name for Cape Town in honour of deceased leader Dawid Kruiper. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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Pietermaritzburg - The word “coloured” is a derogatory term that should be abolished like all other offensive terms, says the Khoi and San community in KwaZulu-Natal.

The leader of the Khoi-San in KwaZulu-Natal, Raymond Trollip, said members of the coloured community should be referred to by their different tribes such as the Khoi, San, Nama, Khorana and the Grique.

“The word ‘coloured’ must be removed like all the other names that have been removed. It is similar to the offensive K word.”

He said it had been coined by the “Dutchman to classify us from human beings to nothing”.

“Those who do not like to be referred to by these [tribe] names, they should simply be referred to as the ‘descendants’.”


Trollip was addressing delegates at a workshop organised by the department of rural development and land reform in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

The event is aimed at collecting the views of coloured people about the possible reopening of the land claims process.

Their forefathers were dispossessed of their land in the 1800s and the current generation could not file land claims with the government because they lost their land before the 1913 cut-off date.

Trollip said that in their efforts not only to abolish the classifications of the past, the communities were also fighting to regain their culture and identity and were already looking at teaching one of their original languages, Nama, in schools in the province.

“We have identified the Nama language that should be taught in schools. It is an African language and would be easy to learn and would simply fall on the tongue,” he said.

“Right now our children are being taught Zulu and other languages, so the other children should also be taught to speak our language.”


Trollip said much needed to be done to restore the dignity of the “coloured” community.

“We lost too much to even try to explain - our land, our livestock, our culture, language, way of life, our heritage sites and historic landmarks, our forefathers’ farms, our identity and our first-nation status.”

His words were echoed by Gabriel Marais, representative of the National Khoi and San in KwaZulu-Natal, who said it was important that their culture, language and heritage be revived.

Advocate Bheki Mbili of the department said the workshop would look at the concerns raised by the community.

“The Khoi-San indaba will provide the platform for more inputs to the policy document the department is currently developing to the benefit of all exceptional land restitution claims,” Mbili said.

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