The recent debate around coloureds has forced South Africa to take note of a diverse group of people that cannot be seen as one.
It is a community of different backgrounds, cultures, religions and heritage, all grouped together through the Population Registration Act of 1950.
That act defined a “coloured person” as “not a white person nor generally accepted as a member of any aboriginal race or tribe of Africa”.
In Die Opkoms van Ons Derde Stand, Dutch Mission Church minister David Botha argued: “The coloured people are our people. They belong with us.”
A 1961 report by the then Bureau for Race Relations argued that coloureds “belonged to European society in terms of language, culture and religion”, and that “apartheid was not only unjust but also drove coloured people into the arms of blacks”.
During this period, the terms “biological integration” and “biological assimilation” were used when referring to coloureds.
But a recent genome study conducted at Stellenbosch University has found that coloureds were a mix of mostly Khoi-San and black South Africans, and to a lesser extent Europeans and Asians.
Given this, coloureds can rightfully claim to be Africans or black.
Coloureds should stop rejecting their African-ness and not cry foul when others don’t consider them Africans.
They should stop extorting sympathy through statements, like “first we were not white enough, now we are not black enough”, which only serve to undermine their role in SA.