Black People : Mandela death prompts soul-searching among 'coloureds' in racial limbo

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by RAPTOR, Dec 18, 2013.


    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Sep 12, 2009
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    As the nation mourns its first black president, many Cape coloureds are ambivalent about where their loyalties lie.

    Linda Orderson and her grandchildren in Cape Town. When she was 17, Linda was forced
    under the apartheid regime to decide whether she wanted to be 'coloured' or white. She chose
    to be coloured. Photograph: Monica Mark for the Guardian

    When Linda Orderson was 17 years old, the apartheid regime forced her to make an agonising choice: be "coloured" and live in poverty, or enjoy the privileges of being "white", and live apart from the rest of her family.

    "I could have played white. My best friend went for white, and she advised me, 'Go for white, you'll be better off'," said Linda, whose mixed race ancestry gave her milky skin and green eyes. Her four siblings, all darker skinned with brown eyes, were classified as "coloured".

    Linda chose coloured.

    Often simplified into a struggle between a repressive white minority and oppressed black majority, apartheid's rigid and sometimes contradictory racist classifications struggled with fluid identities – especially in the Western Cape, where centuries of settlers, slavery and immigration washed a tangle of ethnicities on to the country's southern shores.

    As the nation mourns Nelson Mandela, whose decades of struggle helped dismantle apartheid, many Cape coloureds are ambivalent about where their loyalties lie.

    "Apartheid was worse for blacks, it's true. But after everything we coloureds did to help [Mandela's party] the ANC, they only care about their own people. I spent time in prison for the struggle, and I can't see anything is better for us coloureds today," said former dock worker Lofty, 64.

    Cape coloureds like Linda and Lofty were originally descended from the mixing of white Afrikaner settlers and the sand-coloured Khoisan they conquered. Later intermingling with many other ethnic groups, they form a majority here, blurring the lines between distinct black, white, Malay and Indian racial groupings.

    As a child growing up in Cape Town's impoverished District 6, Linda had not been aware of discriminatory partitioning. "All of us had the same horrible rotting floorboards in our houses. But we never had any of those [whites only] signs in my street. On our street Africans mixed with Europeans," she said, using the terms assigned to blacks and whites under apartheid.

    Then, in 1966, the prime land in the heart of the city was declared a "white group area". Bulldozers razed the ramshackle houses so whites could move in. Today, cramped black and coloured townships on either side of the palm-studded valley are an enduring and stark reminder of persistent informal apartheid.

    "I doubt my friend who chose to be white is now sharing a house in a ghetto with grandchildren, but I'm happy here," said Linda, as two hyperactive dogs and dozens of grandchildren of varying shades of butterscotch darted around the wooden shack where she was relocated.
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  2. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

    United States
    Sep 27, 2005
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    Hi There Raptor!

    No guess work needed here. Mandela was what he was...!

    All media coverage(s) from movie to biographical write off will 4ever be to "pacifiy"...!

    1Love, Fine
  3. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

    Apr 7, 2013
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    This is the same thing South Africans who know they are black, say.... and she knows it. **sigh**

    Interesting that under apartheid, how one looks determined their race. I guess America's slavery was, indeed, the "peculiar" institution. ("peculiar" meaning being different from slavery anywhere else.... on so many levels!)

    Btw, looking at the picture, I can see why her "description" failed to mention the "texture" of her hair