A melting pot?

2012-03-23 12:11

Does our nation’s celebrated rainbow end where the mountain meets the sea? Is Cape Town as divided as they say?

Have a read of this: In Cape Town many blacks feel unwelcome.

I’m Capetonian and as uncomfortable as this is, and it pains me to say it, yes, I think there’s more than a grain of truth to it.

Certainly the racial tones are awash in what’s meant to be “one of the biggest melting pots in the world. Beginning in the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company brought slaves and prisoners from Mozambique and Madagascar, as well as from India and Indonesia. These groups intermarried. White blood inevitably entered the gene pool, too”.

I’ll also go so far as to say yes, we’re so far up our own arses in the Mother City that we couldn’t give a continental really about the rest of the country. Guess we’re too cool, arrogant and “racist” for that…..

But here’s the thing: Are we substituting being “classist” and cliquey - and equating it with being racist? Has it all become interchangeable? Is it the same thing? Or are Capetonians just plain old racist? I don’t know.

I do think, however, our Mother City is a perfect example of how the legacy of the apartheid system’s group areas act manifests itself time and again.

It’s one of the most evil reminders of a system that engrained in people an inherent way of thinking - the “melting pot” of blacks, coloured and whites who continue to have a mutual disdain and mistrust of each other. In varying degrees - some more so than others. And there are those who genuinely don’t care, and have moved on. But it’s probably in the minority.

Add to that the huge economic divide, and the demarcation of “whites in the city centre and its mountainside inner suburbs, nonwhites in the distant townships on the Cape Flats” is the reality we’re sitting with. As much as we’d like to disagree, we can’t really deny it, can we? Surely not?

And it’s become an ugly mishmash of class, race and "being cliquey". So where do we actually sit then? And how do we begin to fix it? Because god knows, it needs fixing. I don’t know…do you?

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