Who are you calling coloured?

April 18, 2007 at 9:54 pm (family, friends, private personal space)

So who are you anyway?
This question – some would call it esoteric – was first raised by Mrs M and it spun out to quite a debate. Who are you? What is your identity? Do you have a problem with being called coloured?
Tricky one this because it’s actually so loaded. Unless you’re very sure of who you are, where you come from and where you’re going.

Is being coloured related to false teeth, gatsby’s (although a friend from Malmesbury says they only do chip rolls); is it pickled fish (as mentioned in a previous post); is it kitting out your car in the latest mags and sound systems (even if it’s a skedonk); is it talking about “keeping you white” when you don’t acknowledge old friends in public places; is it struggling with not being white enough or not being black enough; is it never wanting to pay for something when you can get a freebie; is it loving Fiela se Kind; is it feeling anxious when you saw the play Bacchus in die Boland; is it not knowing where you fit in in the fabric of South African society; is it having fond memories of going to see the coons at Green Point stadium while your mom bought your sausage rolls (with cheapy tomato sauce) at a vendor in the Gardens; is it feeling a connection with the sea…I could go on.

The problem with being any kind of label is that it comes with baggage of all kinds. Whether you’re black or white or coloured – every group has a negative connotation attached to their labels. But it is up to us to remember the positive aspects of our collective identities and encourage these ones to flow readily.
If you allow people to take control of identity and define its parameters for you…well then you’re screwed. But you shouldn’t allow that anyway. I am who I am because I want to be this way.

My friend asked me to say what I am in one line. My answer: I am a 24-year-old South African woman. That is all.



  1. MrsM said,

    Ally got us all thinking. Can’t we just be? Do you know what I mean? Just be and klaar.

  2. tbhanks said,

    Yes, but we must, after all, question these things and wonder why we are here. It’s one of the things that makes us human – to question that which others take for granted or don’t even think about.

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