Image by Carolina Marinati c/o nappy.co
Due to recent events it seemed fitting that my next article be one that accounts for the narrative of the coloured discourse and culture. We’re reaching a time where coloured people are becoming exasperated from being “fence sitters” and living in a society that never has a place for us. We’ll make that place for ourselves now, by disrupting everyone’s perspectives of coloured people, the way we are represented in the media, underrepresented in politics, disregarded and underestimated in society. The cape flats, a place where gang violence thrives and regal drug lords build their empires. Domestic violence and all types of criminal activities are loose on the streets like a dark omen creeping around corners, robbing families of a safe place to live. On the 18th of July 2019 the residence of the cape flats felt hope restored to their futures as they watched the SANDF march eminently through the streets. The legitimacy of deploying an army to manage criminal activity, as opposed to war, brought up some conflicting opinions. Considering the crime rate of the country, the drastic way seems like the only way for change to come about. The trouble comes when we think the problem will be solved that easily when the root causes are overlooked and avoided.
Since before the beginning of democracy, the government failed to classify coloured people. They were labeled similarly to black people, placed in rural areas and marginalized because they could not be categorized. This is the problem, coloured people are always an after thought, always treated as if no one ever knew what to do with us which left us in a perpetual state of not knowing who we are, where we fit in and what we’re supposed to be fighting for. This state of mind was passed down from generation to generation, hence the fence sitting. So yes, the drugs, the crime and the murdering at the cape flats- really horrible- and deploying the army to manage the crime once and for all is great- drastic - but great, but the root of it is caused by the misrepresentation, and lack thereof, of coloured people by the government a long time ago. Although we had our freedom fighters like Ahmed Timol and Aunty Pat, coloured people had a very small seat at the table of inclusion, we were forgotten about when democracy was won and overlooked when restoration started taking place. We were not white enough to be privileged and not black enough for our voices to be heard. Therefore, the inability of coloured people to stand up for themselves in society, cannot be blamed on coloured people. There is so much more to us that we do not know how to categorize ourselves. The fact that people at the Cape flats (and Westbury and Ennerdale) were left to live in this state- socially and demographically- is the result of a race that has been neglected.
The coloured culture is rooted in characteristics and traditions from a number of different races and cultures. Overtime coloured people have learned how to adapt to any social context they find themselves in. An example of this is how black people and coloured people reacted so differently to the introduction of Afrikaans in the school curriculum of Bantu Education. After Afrikaans was made a compulsory communication medium in all schools, June 16, 1976 black students rallied together and mobilized themselves for a peaceful march against the new education policy. Countless students were injured, and some died when the protest escalated due to the interference of armed forces in attempt to disperse the march. What did coloured people do? Nothing, and today majority of the Cape population consists of coloured people, who speak Afrikaans because they took the language and made it their own. Coloured people took Afrikaans and added their own lingo and coloured slang. A language extracted from a boiling pot of cultures. This slang eventually caught on and is recognized in the language by everyone who speaks it. I’m not saying that June 16 was mishandled by black people, but by not having a voice, this forced coloured people to just take what they get and adjust it to suit them. This is, primarily, how we’ve learned to just cruise through society nonchalantly.
We take what we get and just live with it; we go whichever way the government decides to place us. Today, however, a new generation of young coloured people have suited up for a battle in social reconstruction. We’re out to reconstruct the culture not to change it but to give it a voice, to represent the coloured community louder than ever only to educate the rest of South Africa about everything that encompasses our culture and the intricacies that make us who we are. Apartheid gave white people the opportunity to establish themselves and their culture, post-apartheid and the rise of democracy gave black people their time to establish their culture in South Africa, now, better late than never, coloured people are starting to navigate through the societal maze and establish a place for ourselves and a seat at the table.
Everything about the coloured culture is unique to a point where no one knows how to process it. The way we speak is hard and with purpose, our T’s give any word the dramatic effect it lacks. The way we roll our R’s, with no shame as it causes a word to vibrate through the conversation and captivate our listeners with our descriptions and sound effects. Drawing inspiration from western culture but also our own people, our fashion is an amalgamation of where we come from and where we’re going. Our hair; sometimes straight, sometimes curly, our skin; with just the right amount of melanin to absorb the rays of the sun and illuminate us with an African glow.
So, to my coloured people, embrace your culture, don’t be ashamed of the way you speak, don’t soften your annunciation for bland ears don’t straighten your curls to try and fit a mould and don’t settle for anything less because for years you’ve just lived in the shadows of other races. Support each other, uplift each other because only we know what it’s like to be underestimated and not taken seriously in a society who does not know how to interpret us yet. Keep forcing society to go back and realign their misconceptions about coloured people. Keep making music, writing poetry and making art to carve your way into every creative space there is. Social media influencers are sorely underestimated, female, coloured influencers don’t know it but they are paving the way for our culture and slowly, they're moulding new perspectives of coloured people. To the rest of society; this should not be seen as a battle of the cultures but merely a coloured cultural diffusion in order for us to reclaim our place in South Africa.
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 1
Expand Posts Area =
Gap/Space Between Posts = 7px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors = 1
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results