Sandile Memela
Sandile Memela

The root of the black vs coloured problem

It has not been my intention to enter the so-called debate on the state of black and coloured relations for fear of generating more heat than light.

But we need to put our ghosts to rest on this matter through constructive self-criticism, honest exchange and historical grounding.

Even though some of us were raised under the influence of Black Consciousness in the middle to late 1970s, we were brought up to understand that blacks, that is indigenous Africans, were the authentic natives of this country.

Of course, this was a lie, that is if you get to study and understand the true history of this part of the African continent.

This apartheid-influenced historical distortion was intended to give blacks a self-righteous claim to assert the ideological position that in the struggle for freedom and self-determination, they would always occupy the number one spot.

But the battles between government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi and Cabinet Minister Trevor Manuel can only confirm the worst fear of deep, underlying tensions between blacks and coloureds over who is an authentic African.

Let me at the outset make it very clear that in a non-racial society like the present South Africa, the use of words like “black” or “coloured” should be banned as they are an antithesis to the spirit of our Constitution.

In this particular article, they are only used as an attempt to take us somewhere in terms of understanding present-day black-coloured relations.

First, we must admit that black anti-coloured feelings and coloured anti-black sentiments, however large or small, exist and are real in this beautiful country.

They are a product of colonial and apartheid engineering that has inculcated a “better-than-thou” attitude among certain sections of the population who have always aspired to be “white”.

There has been no golden age in the history of the black-coloured relations where being “black” was cool because within the latter community, black was, largely, considered an aberration.

The status of being “somebody” has always been determined by how “white” one looked in terms of their physical appearance and those who looked too “black” were not only frowned upon but rejected and thus treated as less human.

I dare any coloured to reject or challenge the existence of this self-hating racism within its own community, which has divided it against itself over who is “light” and “too dark”.

Yet, there were always courageous individuals within the black and coloured communities, including at family level, which rejected this intra-racism and fought for better relations that transcended skin colour.

This political awareness with taints of Black Consciousness is what ushered a better age where an increasing number of people in both communities identified the common history of oppression and dehumanisation and began to rally around the cause of their oppression, that is, skin colour.

This marked a turning point in black and coloured relations where small pockets in both groups popularised genuine empathy and forged principled unity that espoused opposition to the “divide-and-rule” tactics of the colonialists and apartheid apparatchiks.

After the launch of the United Democratic Front in 1983, black-coloured relations have reached their lowest point in a non-racial democracy.

We have to ask ourselves, why it is so, now?

I do not want to put the entire blame on the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. But this sad state of affairs can be explained by each group’s perception of the other and of itself.

The fact of the matter is that blacks and coloureds in this country continue to view each other through apartheid-created prisms.
For example, blacks recognise and may remember some fundamental flaws of coloured history: not only have they believed that they were “better than blacks” but have, largely, been inclined to side with the whites.

This is an over-simplification of history but this perception is at the centre of deep tensions that exist.

For example, much as the UDF was formed to oppose the Tricameral Parliament. Blacks have always resented the fact that coloureds seemed to buy into an unjust political system at their expense.

Needless to say, blacks have this deep-seated resentment against coloureds because they reinforce the view that they are the “chosen ones”, second-class citizens while blacks are condemned to remain at the bottom of the racial hierarchy and economic ladder.

The black resentment of coloureds rests on apartheid-created social engineering.

In fact, historically, coloureds have always been subjected to the same brutal and degrading oppression as blacks.

For progress, both black and coloured leaders, especially in the ANC, need to shatter the myth of coloured one-upmanship and black inferiority complex to embark on educational campaigns that will teach the groups of their common history and plight.

Of course, there is a disproportionate presence of coloureds in the Western Cape, for instance, simply because under apartheid blacks were declared as undesirable and unwanted in the region.

The Western Cape has been, since 1954, a “coloured-preferred area”.

Since those times, it was a sin to be black and being coloured was the passport to false privilege. This explains why blacks changed their names to be coloured in the region.

It is this perception that feeds into bigotry and stereotypes of coloured as “less black”.

Ironically, the founding of the Constitution of this country does NOT recognise the existence of blacks and or coloureds as distinct group entities. The Constitution was a result of both blacks and coloureds choosing to fight against white oppression.

Thus we must always remember that we are all South Africans who have a right to belong here.

  • outsidr

    “Thus we must always remember that we are all South Africans who have a right to belong here” – does this include so-called White people too? A very balanced and sensible article.

  • Mpumelelo Toyise

    Mr Memela
    Leave the analysis to people who can. Indeed your first instincts, your fear of generating more heat than light, were correct. You have a way of tripping over your own words, listen to yourself:

    “….blacks, that is indigenous Africans, were the authentic natives of this country. Of course, this was a lie, that is if you get to study and understand the true history of this part of the African continent.”

    I think you meant to say the so-called Bantu groups were made to believe that they are the only indigenous and authentic Africans. However, to then suggest that such would have been an apartheid lie is rather bizarre, for by its very design apartheid sort to delegitimize the Africans’ claim of being the rightful owners of the land. The revisionist and contradictory definition of who is an African by the ruling party has not helped either.
    Black Consciousness defines black in political sense and again the corruption of that definition to equal race is something we must decry. I find it strange that you, allegedly BC influenced, still uses black to denote race. You seem more of a narrow African nationalist, and to be more precise, a Bantu nationalist which is what tends to influence the ruling party’s thinking and orientation.

    In the whole article, I saw no constructive criticism nor honest exchange or historical grounding. All read was a one sided waffling of an aggrieved Bantu nationalist against “coloured” and their supposed attitudes towards Africans.

  • Grant

    Yawn. More ANC propaganda…

  • http://aol fergie

    Sandile, most of what you said I agree with but, you failed to touch on the most important part of this discussion and that many blacks growing up in SA are not part of a tribe. Professor Jansen is just as black as any black person but, he is not part of a tribe so that makes him an outsider among many Africans. In the US the black population is made up different complexion and we all speak the same language so we don’t have division problem on complexion.

  • Chris Potgieter

    @ Sandile Memela;

    You say that “The Constitution was a result of both blacks and coloureds choosing to fight against white oppression.” and immediately one sees this statement as one that only a true racist will make.

    Have you conveniently forgotten that many whites also fought for an open society? It appears that this missive of yours is directed at trying to cement relationships that continue to be destroyed by the thinking of the newly deployed comrades.

    Your statement that “the use of words like “black” or “coloured” should be banned” re-enforces ones perception that you also ignore the fact that the “white”, when used in the same derogatory fashion as “black” and “coloured”, is offensive to the whites in our country.

    Surely it is time to look at the governing successes, or failures, of the elected government to help us decide whether or not this country is advancing out of the racist past?

    In the end our vote is buying us a commodity that has to deliver on the promises made in our Constitution. Should those promises not materialize, we must be free to vote for who ever we believe will render to us the governing decisions that will ensure we no longer will determine our future because of the colour of our complexions.

  • Rod of Sydney

    Fear of loss of access to resources to feed ones’ family is the enemy. “Coloureds” are not part of the “in” crowd to get national govt money so have to look to local business and provincial govt in the W.Cape. If that was lost to the ANC, then so would be the resources which would channel to Xhosas…..

  • Zuck Fuma

    I’m not quite sure why you choose to downplay the impact of the tricameral parliament and the involvement of the coloured and indian race in the oppression of the black majority. It is them who chose to participate in this oppressive parliament knowing full well that the rest of the inhabitants were precluded from enjoying the same benefits. Us blacks will obviously continue to view the coloured/indian and white race with disgust notwithstanding the quest for a rainbow nation. The tricameral parliament is a historical fact, and as such we can wish it away at our own peril.

  • Oldfox


    I don’t believe you have got to the real roots of the problem, which surely goes back long before the SA Apartheid era which began in 1948. Its very important to understand that stratification between Black and Coloured/Mixed race people is not unique to South Africa, and such stratification was more pronounced and entrenched in the USA and Brazil, the latter having 50 different named graduations between white and black. The USA was slightly less extreme than Brazil, where racial mixing was measured in sixteenths before slavery was abolished, with for example Octaroon being the name for a person with one eighth Black African ancestry.
    Sadly, Black Africans too have attached values to skin complexion and African features, with skin lightening treatments being used by many Black women to this day. Four decades after the Black Consciousness movement aimed to instill pride in peoples’ Africaness, there are in SA some Black women who have plastic surgery done to their noses, or to reduce the size of their buttocks. Large numbers of Black women straighten their hair.
    I don’t think we can blame the fixation with skin complexion on Europeans, as this occurred in India long before the colonial era, and still occurs there today.

    It is not only in the Cape where Blacks changed their names (and racial classification) to Coloured. This certainly occured in the Transvaal too. In fact, some Black people did not change their Black surnames, but became classified as Coloured.

  • Oldfox

    When the Group Areas Act forced Coloureds to relocate to Coloured townships, some of these Blacks with Black surnames chose to live in Coloured townships, for various reasons, including the fact that some of them were married to Coloureds. That there were some “problems” cannot be denied, but I think in Coloured townships in the Transvaal, these were minimal and were reducing over time. Many Coloureds had Black friends who lived in Black townships, and many Blacks had friends in Coloured townships. Some Coloureds were and still are are fluent in one or more Black languages.

    As a resident in a Coloured township in Gauteng, I am not aware of the “myth of coloured one-upmanship and black inferiority complex” you mention. Every day we see on TV Blacks to have achieved much in life, far more than we see successful Coloureds (they do exist, by the way) on TV. Our children attend school with Blacks, whether in former Coloured Schools, Model C schools or private schools. Sometimes the top pupil in a class is Black. Maybe there was some one-upmanship prior to 1994, but I am not aware of that today, not in the township where I live anyway.

  • ae

    Nice spin but you are bending the truth. (1) “The Western Cape has been, since 1954, a coloured-preferred area”. The group areas act prevented the free movement of “other” colours in SA at the time. This included laws like no Indians in OFS etc. This means that everybody (except whites) had movement restrictions to a more or a lesser degree, so to say preferred area is not correct. (2) The struggle was fought as fearlessly in the Western Cape as anywhere else in the country Coloured men and women by their thousands faced the wrath of the then government as they too protested but this is overlooked by the current government and no credit given (now you know why theyno longer vote ANC). (3) You say they wanted to be white. It was not so much the desire to be white that forced the thinking but the fact that the financial power house was white. It was a survival strategy more than colour imperative.
    It must be stated that there are persons of all colours and persons of all provinces that worked together in the struggle. However now that we have a full on democracy there are sections and parties who want to claim ownership of the liberation struggle, again ignoring the efforts of others.

  • Kanthan Pillay

    Sandile: The ANC lost the plot on coloured people (and thereby lost their support in the Western Cape) when they hung Allan Boesak out to dry. I’m not a Boesak fan, but I thought it was wrong that so many apartheid era criminals were welcomed with open arms into the then “New South Africa”, but the man who spearheaded the founding of the United Democratic Front was treated like a common criminal.

    I concur that the only point this will be over is when we lose all reference to race in our policy framework. As things stand, the government will be hard pressed to defend a constitutional challenge to definitions of blackness in the absence of the apartheid-era population registration act. If a white person born post 1994 claims to be black, how does one disprove the claim?

  • Robin Grant

    Thank you for writing this insightful piece.

  • Sally

    “non-racial society like the present South Africa” – codswallop.

    Everything about South Africa is racial and racist.

    In fact, there are a large number who make THE most racist pronouncements thinking that they have some kind of divine right to somehow not be racist.

    It’s sickening to watch.

    Given the mindset, it is going to take generations to fix and the resulting brain drain will ultimately come at great cost.

    Right now, ignorance is bliss. The rainbow nation is a myth and will remain a myth as long as colour remains the over riding factor above intelligence/competence/merit which comes a poor second.

    The world moves on regardless and South Africa will be left behind along with the rest of Africa unless thinking changes.

  • Charne

    This is BS!

  • amused reader

    What utter nonsense and avoidance of the real issues!! You fail to recognise the key issue, coloureds are indigenous to the western cape, where blacks are not and never have been. Added onto this, and perhaps currently more significantly, coloureds have realised that the ANC cannot properly govern this country, and have thrown their political hats in with the whites, and an increasing number of independently minded blacks, and started voting DA, the results of which have been incredibly successful for all concerned, with the W Cape being comfortably the best governed province.

    Since the majority of blacks are yet to make this ‘leap of faith’, there are now political tensions between the 2 groups, and the ANC’s motives are a thinly disguised attempt to water down the coloured vote, which has become troublesome, by wishing to spread them out, thus giving black a political majority in all provinces, thus allowing the ANC to continue misgovern this country until it eventually falls apart.

    Thank God for coloured people!!!!!

  • Andre Hattingh

    “Thus we must always remember that we are all South Africans who have a right to belong here” Even the ‘whites’?

  • Peter Joffe

    What happened to the Rainbow nation and the constitution that clearly states that all are equal in South Africa?
    When is an immigrant no longer an immigrant? When is a settler no longer a settler? Are ‘coloures perhaps 1/2 settlers?? How many generations must pass before someone is a true South African or does this only apply to Black Rainbows and everyone else is a storm cloud?
    As an example, my forebears started farming in the north of “Rhodesia” in 1880 and built up huge farms from nothing – yes nothing as there were no people there. The farm workers were imported (mostly) and suddenly had income, housing, food and a future. Along came Mugabe, destroyed the farms, placed thousands of black Zimbabweans out of work because the farmers were ‘settlers’. Where there was once prosperity there is now nothing but misery and starvation, but “Hey” the settlers should not have been there in the first place?? The ANC is doing the same in South Africa where only Black Rainbows are true citizens. My family has been in South Africa for over 200 years but I am still ‘unwanted’ and a settler. You cannot take knowledge from those who have it – you can only learn from those who have the knowledge that you need. Taking their possessions does not come with the know how.

  • Zaharian

    This country misses Steve Biko desperately. The ANC were always the intellectual pygmies of the struggle and their continued association with the communist party hasn’t helped.

    The ANC are merely the mirror image of the old Nats (that is why they merged) and they cannot let go of apartheid era classifications.

  • R

    Sandile, you’re lazy again. What if some of us aggregate as friends because we have common interests? If I have white friends and you see me hanging out with them, you’ll say that i’m trying to be white not that we like spending time together (i’m colored). I should only spend time with my black friends? I associate with people I like. So take your contextless, un-nuanced generalisations and shove it.

  • Tirelo Mabetoa

    Thanks for being a clear, voice of reason amidst all the absurd pronouncements that have come out of this debate.

    Unfortunately, the same common sense seems to have escaped those in power, we’re on a slipery slope.

  • David Brown

    Eiselin, who drew the Eiselin line in the Western Cape, is probably smirking in his grave.His work was well done, the balkanisation he propogated is working long after his death.Why do the Skwatsha’s and Ozinsky’s of this world and all those regardless of party affiliation or political postion, who do not seek freedom for all, give this very devious apartheid architect more than he could get in his own life time in terms of division and acrimony.

  • Carmen

    Thank you for a well-measured article…

  • Dave Martin

    I think this whole debate proves the need to focus on building the non-racist South Africa envisaged in the constitution. As a former ANC member I support Employment Equity and broad-based BEE (as it was originally envisaged, not how it has been implemented) but we can’t escape the fact that these policies have increased race-consciousness in our society.

    The question is, what is the greater good? Do we accept some forms of overt race-based policies for the greater good of transformation? Or do we accept a slower pace of transformation for the greater good of a non-racist society? Is there a 3rd way?

    Think of two school mates, one black and one white, who have never had any racial tensions between them. They both score exactly the same marks for Matric but only the black friend gets in to university due to the current policy of awarding extra points for being disadvantaged. We have now created a racial tension between 2 friends with an underlying feeling of any achievement/success of the black friends being “because you’re black.” Is this just a triviality in the greater mission of fundamentally transforming our society for the better – or is this a symptom of a society that continues to wallow in its apartheid legacy of race-obsession?

    White South Africans represent 9% of the population and shrinking. Of course they are disproportionately rich and economically powerful – but transformation is inevitable, the question is: at what cost?

  • talon

    Not white enough for apartheid, not black enough for the New South Africa?

    Coloreds exist because of colonialism: because of the meeting of white and black. They are a distinct ethnic identity and the tensions you describe are simply a consequence of the interaction of different ethnic groups.

    Blaming apartheid for everything is just stupid.

  • Una


    The question of African women who choose to enhance their looks buy strightening their hair and using skill lightening creams cannot be pigeon holed. White women have also used sun tanning creams,have gone for surgery to have their breasts and bums enlarged, injected their lips with substances in order to have fuller lips and look more voluptuous. You can never stereotype these issues you need to adopt a more broader approach when analysing people and their preferences for how they look.

  • MLH

    As a self-confessed government fu*k, I should warn you that you’ve done no better than Manyi as far as clearing the air is concerned.
    Get past the history and the reasoning; it’s all total twaddle anyway. Accept that this sort of rhetoric does nothing for race relations in the country.
    Whatever reasons you feel are justified are not. Bad behaviour is never justified. Picking on any group is bad behaviour. Apologise, then go back to your mummies and daddies and learn some good behaviour. Then practise it, repeatedly, until it becomes habit.
    I brought up my son that way and if I were charged with bringing you or your sons up, I’d use the same strategy. Manners maketh man and that’s what government fu*ks need to learn.

  • Ernest

    I guess that this explains it. Well written

  • Tlanch Tau

    Andile- I knew someone will have the balls to talk about the real issue here.

    But still I am not convinced this is the time we should be talking about this. Why did the Manyi thing only come out today? It is clear his argument has been distorted during the interview. The DA and their cronies(corporate SA) are doing all they can to frustrate transformation in SA. And what better way to use “divide and conquer” especially now that laws that will enforce transformation are about to be passed? Why not take one law that is flawed and confuse the crap out of everyone with it? This is exactly what is happening here. I am waiting for someone in the coloured community to talk straight about this. I was hoping Eusebius McKaizer can do it, but it looks like he doesn’t have the balls either or is afraid of doing this.

    And yes, most coloureds and Indian’s in SA still have the “I am mightier that the Bantu’s” attitude. And yes that was partly due to apartheid and today partly due to the fact that their education was slightly better than that of blacks in the olden days. But it looks like that attitude changes when they meet a black person whom they feel is on the same level as them education wise.

  • Smagh Smangaliso

    Sandile Bro, I am afraid you have missed the plot altogether here, RIGHT FROM THE TITTLE for that matter. There is no “black vs coloured” problem in this country, at least in the way you seek to define?. The challenge (I would not want to call it a problem because this country is a smart and can handle it, i has done that before) that is, is the DIVIDE AND RULE of time immemorial. That you have missed this point is really worrying! Please kindly take a look at who manufactured Manyi’s comments and the timing thereof? Who has been running around positioning (himself/herself) as a “perfect” spokesperson(s) for the so-called coloured people? And you have to ask yourself why? And I put it to you, there is only one reason and one reason only – the perpetual of this old age practice – DIVIDE THEM AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO RULE THEM! Its sad that you have missed this critical point indeed, I repeat. I must also say that Mpumelelo Toyise is correct that your comment that you were raised under the influence of Black Consciousness yet your thinking along this line of thought seem rather confused on the issue of blackness, politically, boggles the mind. If there is one thing I want to disagree with Mpumelelo with is that the ANC seems to be characterized by Bantu Nationalism? I have witnessed these tendencies from certain ANC members and sometimes ANC leaders, but NOT ANC POLICY!

  • Stuart

    What a crock! This tonka thinks that he can scribble away his racism. “Blacks cant be racist” be damned. Blacks are in fact the worst racists in the world and most definitely in SA. It reminds of a joke Chris Rock told once on TV – blacks are so busy worrying about everyone else and what they think while everyone else couldn’t give a damn what the blacks are doing nor do they ever think about it.
    Blacks are far more focussed on race and race issues than anyone else and it comes directly from a massive inferiority complex which was foisted on them over the years.
    Black consciousness movements unfortunately only served to entrench this and not eradicate it as was originally intended. The constant segregation of race by the ANC has only one thing in mind – to mobilize the blacks and try and once again hoodwink them by hook or by crook to vote once again for the criminal party!!

  • Bongo

    Nice article but you ommit one important and fundamental point…..”Blacks” in the Western Cape have for years been the victims of racial insults from our “so-called” coloured compatriots. This is no myth or something that is been suck out of a thumb. “Black: people generally are treated with total contempt by “coloured” people and it is not uncommom to hear coloured people speak to blacks in a derogatory fashion like calling them “kaffirs”. Indeed the Western Cape is the most racist province in this country and whether we would like to sweep this under the carpet or not. Manuel as a Cape Town born compatriot is fully aware of this state of affairs and it was totally hypocritical of him not to acknowledge this fact when he played to rightwing and racist forces in the country. Up till today many blacks are relocating to other provinces for better career opportunities as they are being shamelesly discriminated against.

    I would urge Sandile next time to write the truth and stop placating some sections of the populace who have for years looked down on black people as inferior.

  • migmog

    There are more coloured people in the Western Cape not because they we’re preferred there but because colonialism in the Western Cape has happened over a longer time than elsewhere in the country, giving more time for people to mix and as South Africans oldest port a wider variety of people have settled there over time. I am a South African with a diverse ancestry ‘mixed’ if you must label and hate the term coloured as it is a reduction of the huge variety of stories and backgrounds of non white South Africans. A simplistic rendering of the history of khoisan/strandloper indigenous people, slaves, adventurers, lovers, rebels, migrants and more. Why reduce all this? The same applies to ‘black’ people. We are and always will be more than a racial category. We need to restructure the source of our pride away from ‘race’ and towards the real stories that make this place good.

  • V3

    ” blacks and coloureds in this country continue to view each other through apartheid-created prisms”

    Yep, you are using the apartheid label.

    The so-called Coloured could be anyone of pure Malaysian descent, have one parent white, one black (as defined by you), have one or more Khoi or San (they are different) ancestors, etc. etc. To simply classify them as one group, as Jimmy “Verwoerd” did is perpetuating apartheid classifications and thinking.

    Then too, why do we label someone like Amla or Gordhan “Indians”? Their families have lived in this country for many generations (unlike the Guptas, who were born in a country called India) and are as South African as Nelson Mandela, whatever we may think of them. In fact many “charras” may think of themselves primarily as Muslim, Hindu or Catholic.

    The only advance we seem to have made since 1994 is to narrow the gap between Engish & Afrikaans white Saffas. Certainly the ANC seems to have done everthing in its power to strengthen and perpetuate racial perceptions and divides

  • http://aol fergie

    @Amused Reader, many people don’t understand what Manyi is proposing in his planning board. He is saying that the jobs should be given out base on the various groups percentage of the population. The problem with this is the blacks in SA that make up the largest percentage have the lowest passing rate in school. As a matter of facts, many of them never finish school at all. The non blacks have a higher percentage of students passing the matric exam than blacks so what the SA government did, they made the passing scores forty to get more blacks to pass. However, with the passing score being forty only sixty plus percentage of the student pass. To make matters worst, the government is saying they are qualified to go to the universities. Professor Jansen is screaming mad with the South African education Department and has spoke out about this. In the US one has to make seventy to pass and a seventy will not get one in the universities. On the civil services test one has to make seventy on the exam to pass and most people making seventy will never be hired regardless of their complexion.

  • http://aol fergie

    @Amused Reader, in the US the students that are making the highest scores on the SAT test in California are Asians and Jews should those students be punished for working hard? In Brazil the Asians students are the highest percentage of the students passing the university exam even though they are a small percentage of the Brazilian population. The answer lies in improving the education in SA and not lowing the standards. The first thing the government has to do is stop all of these strikes that closing the schools for weeks at a time. I am amazed that the people in SA are not raising pure hell about the way the South African government is cheating their students in school by not properly educating them.

  • Paddy II

    Sandile, in the past you’ve written things I flatly disagreed with, and the headline of this piece made me very dubious of it… but actually, this is a clear, compassionate and very valuable piece of writing. I applaud it.

  • Chris Potgieter

    The value of being the best of the best has been corrupted by the Luthuli House deployed cronies whose style of government says it’s okay to give everyone an average mark except when it comes to skin colour.

    This government will also leave a heritage of having been racists. The real challenge we all, voters that is, face in our country is to be able campaign peacefully for change.

    Unfortunately the current crop of diktat’s fear being out of power because then they will have to face their worst nightmare, court, in a society that wants the best of the best and are prepared to ensure that never again means just that.

    So let us, those that are prepared to face down the Luthuli House tactics, get together and work to ensure that we will elect leaders and not have them foisted on us by the Luthuli House Comrade cadre’s.

  • Jan

    I’m a native of earth and God has given me the right live on any place on this planet. Politics, governments, religious power mongers and the artificial lines drawn by man called borders is the problem. I now know that the truth lies not in these artificial creations of man but in the love for the creation of which we are all part. This ANC government will fail just as any artificial system will fail that does not adhere to this truth. Please wake up people and don’t fall into the same race based trap from which we have just escaped. Race classification is wrong and will always be it does not matter if you try to justify it and give it a nice name such as BEE, separate development (Apartheid) etc. It is wrong and it will fail.

  • Lenny Appadoo

    Perhaps it’s time the ANC recalled you and put you out to pasture like Mbeki.

    Your efforts to placate are actually quite divisive.

  • glen marine

    Really Fergie?
    American Blacks do not have a colour issue? You know that you are spreading the biggest bit of hogwash. I have lived in the U.S. for 15 years and am married to an African American. African Americans may aspire to the kind of attitude you claim, but the reality is far different, so stop spreading such crap.

  • Tlanch Tau

    @Bongo on March 15th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
    I thought I saw Sandile mentioning what you said there. He just touched on it and he didn’t go all out like you.

    And yes I agree with you. My first racist coloured experience was with a lady. A hotel receptionist for that matter. At the Lagoon Beach Hotel for that matter. Walked in to check into my room and the stare or just her attitude was very unwelcoming. I used to respect Trevor Manuel but it looks like he is just as stupid as he claims he is not.

    And yes, even today coloured still have an I’m better than you attitude towards blacks.

    Bottom line is right now. The DA’s divide and rule is working and like I said, for as long as the coloured community don’t see this, then we have big issues coming in this country.

  • Oldfox

    Bongo, Sandile did write about what could be termed racist attitudes of some Coloureds towards Blacks.
    But, where is the proof that such attitudes are held by the majority of Coloureds in the W.Cape? This is a very serious allegation, which needs to be proven via one or more proper scientific studies. One would also need to qualify such statements with some description of the population, for example, are such views more prevalent among the uneducated and poor Coloureds? Are racist attitudes more prevalent in certain areas?
    Generalizations such as “most coloureds are racist towards Blacks”, “most Blacks hate Coloureds”, “all Afrikaners are racist” are very damaging, do not contribute towards Nationbuilding, and they are simply not true anyway.

    In a country which has squandered tens of billions of Rands in recent years, we can certainly afford to spend a few million on proper research to study racial attitudes, and how we can reduce racial problems. The Dept. of Arts and Culture could fund such studies.

  • Oldfox

    I was not stereotyping, I was stating a fact. I could perhaps have worded the sentence better, by rather stating that “many Blacks too have…”.
    I did not anywhere imply that the majority, or even a significant percentage of Blacks try to change their appearance via skin lighteners or surgery. I think the percentage of people using those methods is actually quite small.
    I mentioned those points because a number of people in recent weeks have commented on Coloureds “wanting to be white” or words to that effect and I thought I should point out that some non Coloureds too, such as some Indians and Blacks, were also not happy with racial characteristics they were born with.
    That some White women do have their lips thickened or buttocks enlarged is I think irrelevant to the topic of Coloured-Black relations.

  • Oldfox


    Of course, your are correct about non Coloureds talking and writing of Coloureds as though they are one homogeneous group with a common identity. The only thing Coloureds have in common, is the label “Coloured”.
    Regarding the people in SA termed Indians, they are, if born in SA, correctly described as “South Africans of Indian descent” or “people of Indian descent” but that is such a mouthful, that its easier, although incorrect, to simply label them as Indians.

  • B Derrick Radebe

    Thanks Sandile a well thought piece of writing. Shame on those who propagate racial intolerance.Shame on those who thumb their noses at those who are actively promoting racial tolerance and reconciliation. South Africa is a beautiful country and belongs to all it`s peoples.

    Our constitution,(which ranks among the best in the world) emphasizes racial and gender equality.

    It is true that the past reminds us of a lot of suffering at the hands of Apartheid Rulers who legislated discriminatory laws.We need to forget the past and concentrate on building a prosperous future for everyone. We need each other more than ever because we have different strengths and weaknesses and we can supplement each other.

    However redressing past imbalances is non negotiable as we cannot afford to ignore the obvious current inequalities emanating from past discriminatory practices. Corrective measures are a must if we are to achieve lasting peace and prosperity.

  • http://aol fergie

    @Oldfox, many people posting on this page don’t understand the reality of Africa. In many parts of Africa and this includes SA, youg girls are have babies for men from the middle east and Europe to get money for support from them. I met several African women that had been married to three Lebanese men and they all gave her money for their children. These ladies would fly to London and New York to shop on the week end. These ladies had homes and money in the bank with servants. None of them lived in the township and these children would grow up not knowing anything about the township culture. These scenes are being played out all over Africa everyday.

  • Peter Win


    I’m amazed at the contradictions in your article. So SA is a “non-racial society” ? Have you heard of the BMF perhaps ? There’s a great example of a non-racial organisation ! And how about the totally non-racial BBEEE ? (Seen how many white kids are employed in the Malls in Jhb ?)

    Non-racial my left ear.

    Now, if you mentioned Government and self-aggrandising in the same sentence, I might agree. Oops, I forgot – that’s you too, isn’t it ?

  • Solitoliquido

    Hi there

    Why do we not dispense of the “Coloured” tag and return to Khoi and / San; that way we’ll know who is who?

  • Una


    I do not want to enter the what you call “coloured – black debate” whatever that means, God bless us. In my view this debate is being engineered by a third party for neferious purposes. I therefore,refuse to dance to their tune. Apparently I did not view your input from that angle which you now emphasize and will not go there. I can only suggest that humans in this day and age choose how they want to look regardless of race. I am not sure that the likeness to whiteness refered to by some participants in this blog has anything to do with looks. I think it refers to attitude. I suggest that you broaden your thought circle a little beat

  • Oldfox

    Sandile started this particular blog, and while I don’t agree with some of his points, I think his intentions were good. As to the Manyi TV interview, the comments by Manuel, DA, Solidarity etc I am not too concerned. Many have commented in the press and on Internet about 3rd party involvement, with most believing the 3rd party to be the DA, Solidarity or both.
    What is undeniable, is that the Nats introduced the Population Registration Act, FW De Klerk apparently dismantled the Act in the dying days of the previous govt, but the present ANC led govt, insists on maintaining the old classifications/designations, and this is not conducive towards building a non racial society, which the ANC always proclaims to be one of its key goals. In many ways, SA as a country is as race obsessed today as it was around 30 years ago.
    We seem to be creating some new race problems, instead of solving the remaining old problems.
    In the few African countries I’ve travelled in, race does not seem to be an issue at all. Many white Afrikaners are happily working in various countries across Africa, from Angola to Nigeria.
    While I have written about Coloured-Black relations here, I have never discussed that topic with Black friends and colleagues over the past 30 ddd years that I have been working, as it was never an issue in our relationships.