City Press 30: Race group miscellaneous

2012-03-02 14:58

To celebrate thirty years of City Press, we feature gems from our archive.

It was with some interest that I read this week that the Minister of Internal Affairs, FW De Klerk, announced that 1 000 South Africans had been reclassified from one race group to another.

The majority – 722 – had been made white overnight from “Cape coloured”. In addition 109 blacks had been reclassified “coloured,” while 109 blacks had been reclassified “coloured”. But the real story I wish to tell you concerns a guy whose genes were really mixed up.

He wrote a letter to the Race Classification Board which read: “Dear baas, my great-grandfather was a Madagascar slave who married a Hottentot woman. My subsequent grandfather married a Malay woman. My father married a Eurasian woman who was later classified white. Now in the light of this, what race group do I belong to?”

Back came the reply: “Greetings, yours is an interesting case. After consultation with our experts in ethnicity and anthropology, not to mention the Labour Bureau, it has been decided to classify you under the race group Miscellaneous.

“To make things easier for you, we strongly advise you to find a place on the border between South Africa and any of the ‘independent states’. PS Please find enclosed a reference book.”

I wonder what happened to the poor bloke. If I was him I would have opted for a stinka (dompas) once and for all and taken my chances!

– City Press, March 6 1983

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