Who is black now?

2011-06-18 11:24

This not-so-new South Africa has got me so confused I’m even beginning to think it’s time I wrote a letter to the honourable Minister of Home Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to plead my case to be reclassified as a Bantu.

You see, before 1994 PW Botha and his esteemed team of lawmakers had decided, probably over a few bottles of tiermelk, that me and my ilk be known legally (even though their regime was illegal) as blacks.

This was, of course, after a successive number of lawmakers made up exclusively of white men in suits, the likes of Barry Hertzog, Daniel Malan and Louis Botha among others, had on a number of occasions come up with different terms to define my ilk.

At some stage we were referred to as natives.

But some verligte individual must have warned these men of the dangers of referring to us as natives, because this was almost as good as acknowledging that we were of this land and so belonged here and deserved equal rights.

And so we became, according to the lawless lawmakers of the time, Africans, then Bantu.

Yet still, this pushed them right into a corner because just like native, Bantu and African pointed to the fact that our roots were nowhere but deep in the soil of this land.

Even when they tried to push hard the theory that we didn’t really belong here because we were actually from up north across the Limpopo river, fact remained our roots were right here in Africa.

So then, eventually, we were named after the colour of our skin, even though the only thing truly black about some of us is our hair.

Just the other day, I woke up to newspaper headlines declaring that Cape Town has a black mayor.

Man, you should have seen me turning various newspapers inside out, hoping to see a photograph of this black mayor.

This was until I realised Patricia De Lille was the black mayor in question. People who were referred to as coloured and Indian before April 27 1994, are now, to be politically correct, referred to as black.

And I’m told this now leaves me, son of Ledwaba, not only as black or African, but a black African.

There’s now a surname attached to my identity? Ai, confusing, confused, confusional!

Now I wonder where this leaves Van der Merwe from Zeerust?

Is he a white African, or simply Afrikaner, which when translated means African anyway?

Oh yes, and what does this make a Naidoo from Chatsworth, who has never set foot in India?

Is he simply black, African Indian or South African Indian?

I think our country, being so good at hosting events, should organise an international conference on race and identity to try put an end to this confusion.

What do you think of this suggestion, fellow blacks?

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01 Jan 0001

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