Monday, December 31, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Deshun Deysel, one of SA's best female mountaineers, from Uitenhaag (check out her profile also on Beyondidentity, in the Eastern Cape, later in Ennerdale, writes this on her webpage, Deshun Deysel, on how to stick to your goals:
"I believe that climbing Everest is like reaching a series of mini summits. Every time you reach a personal milestone, you've mentally and emotionally reached the top of another mountain"
She can be booked for talks and presentations at her webpage and check out the stunning photos of her endeavours (like the one here). Phenomenal !
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Two young women, Tansey Coetzee and Jody Williams from the Coloured community, had the nation talking- if not the whole nation, then at least the Coloured community. This time it wasn't because TIK or Gangsterism or teenage pregancy or even a lack of ambition, so endemic of current media and popular stereotypes. It is also impossible to (again) put it on page 7. Basking in the glory of these 2 successful and evidently ambitious young women, we however also need to ask some questions. How serious should we take competitions like Idols and the Miss SA pageant ? For some of us, the answer is obvious: these simply represent the (marketing and therefore financial) interests of the shareholders of the companies driving it. To some extend, these 'beauty pageants' serve to entrench and now crudely commodify the sexist stereotypes of women. (Its also reflected in some expressions of the pop music genre, HIP HOP, so popular in our communities-which needs to be explored). Others would argue that these serve as a barometer of popular culture and need to be read, in context of its growing salience in shaping values and mores of our changing society (more then JZ or the prez). Maybe these arguments is taking the role of these shows too far and the problem lies in merely thinking in terms of extremes. The key lies in keeping the tension, a creative tension in celebrating the greatness and tenacity of our young people, in this case strong, young women, whilst reminding ourselves that (even) popular culture are many times influenced by predatory economic interests and therefore corruptible. In the same breath, we should salute them, but also refrain from loading on them the impossible duty of bearing the collective responsibility of saving a nation of mere talkers. We all share the responsibility of informing popular culture, towards a culture of achievers, like Tansey and Jody. You go girls !
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Van der Ross stem saam dat die bruin intellektuele stil is... hulle monde is nog vol van eet... aan die vrug van hul struggle, ook aan kultuur het hulle in elk geval geen erg nie. Die geskiedenis het ons in elk geval geleer, so voer hy aan, dat die opinies van die armes nie tel nie en mag aan die kant van die owerhede en rykes lê. Hy argumenteer verder: "Al word en bly die US Afrikaans, en al word die SAUK (...) meer Afrikaans, sal dit bitter min doen aan die armoede onder die bruin mense. Die heil van die bruin mense sal, indien wel, geleidelik kom namate ons kinders opgeneem word in die ekonomiese vooruitgang van die land as geheel". T.o.v. Afrikaans skryf hy egter: "Dit sal aangaan, hetsy op die Kaapse Vlakte, hetsy aan die US."
Miskien is Leopold Scholtz (Die Burger 29 Nov 2007) ten minste in hierdie opsig reg as hy in antwoord op van der Ross aanvoer, vanuit sy boekkennis, "In die algemeen is dit dikwels so dat 'n sosiaal-ekonomiese stryd agter 'n taalstryd tuisgaan". In sy aanhaling van grepe uit die geskiedenis van die Afrikaners se taalstryd, die Vlaamse stryd, de Tjegge asook, in sy woorde, die van die "inheemse Indiane", in Latyns Amerika, bied hy gronde aan vir sy punt dat die koloniste meermale taal gebruik het om inheemse groepe uit te buit en dat daar dus wel 'n verband bestaan tussen armoede en taaldiskriminasie. Wat hy egter gerieflik weglaat, is die stuk geskiedenis van hoe Afrikaans self ontwikkel het as 'n taal van die verdrukker. Inderdaad, daar is 'n verband. Wat ons egter verder moet byvoeg is dat die heil nie noodwendig lê in die taal, Afrikaans soos ons dit vandag ken, as sodanig nie. Die ontwikkeling van Afrikaans geskied binne 'n bepaalde sosiale konteks, en een stroom het begin waar bruin slawe in die smeltkroes van Oosterse, Afrika en Europese kulture 'n nuwe verdrukte-kultuur ontwikkel het (teenoor die koloniale kultuur)- 'n kultuuurskat wat egter die laaste paar eeue voordurend gevorm is deur die konteks, in verskeie skakeringe. Die proses sal voortgaan hier in Afrika; net soos die voorgaande fermentering van Afrikaanse kultuur sal voortgaan in Engeland, Kanada en Perth, in Australië (en daar ander name kry). Die elites en maghebbers sal ook voortgaan om hierdie lewendige gisting te wil beheer (naam te gee) en inspan om hul ideologieë te verkoop, of om politieke mag te mobiliseer en te behou. Die sleutel lê egter in die erkenning van hierdie selfbewuste hibriede identiteit waar Afrikaans onmiskenbaar 'n integrale deel is van die 'mix', maar waar ons heil opgesluit lê in die diepere waardes en hartsstories.. die breër kultuurskat wat voortleef en ons betrokkenheid en geleidelike opgang in die ekonomie, wetenskap en tegnologie dryf.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Kleinbaas, die toekoms van bruin mense lê nie daarin dat witmense soos jy, help om ons stem duideliker oor te bring nie... gaan eerder terug na jou eie mense en vertel hulle van die impack van slawerny en kolonialisme, vandag nog, op hierdie 'armsalige verwarde groepie... Miskien sou jy ons almal 'n guns gedoen het deur eerder te luister na jou eie raad... aan die begin van die artikel, en bloot vir ons te sê wie jy is ...maar dan, wat ons aanbetref, is jy maar net nog 'n magtige witmens, magtig gemaak deur apartheid, en daarom die sogenaamde kenner van bruinmense.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
1) the fact that the colonialist governments used/appropriated colouredness, in terms of their ideology and strategy of the apartheid regime and consciously, purposefully created a hierarchy of sorts, where the there was levels of preferential treatment and discrimination. Call it 'divide and rule' tacticts or a guilty conscience by fellow white Afrikaners- it was an economic fact that the Coloured sector were given more benefits than, what shall we say now, blacks ? (no we're also blacks!), Bantus (hell no!) Africans (what are 'we' then ?). Anyway, you have my point. We ( who ever) will have to own up to the fact that there was a category of people ( created or procreated) that were better off then another category of people (who ever). It seems to me that government it currently acknowledging this as historical fact and also as the basis for the application of affirmative action. The categories 'African', 'coloured' and 'Indian' remained...
2) The history and origin of colouredness predates National Party rule and can be located in the history of slavery, with the import of slaves from the East and elsewhere and what some call the genocide of the first peoples here at the tip of Africa. We, decendants of these peoples and heirs of this messy history, would struggle to go back to a primordial essence on terms of ethnicity- but we cannot deny this history. Hence we create, in terms of social and political raw material, some key fragments of our memory, but aometimes also our religious fantacies, our social identity. This cannot be denied. What however is evident is that some would choose not to be identified in terms of a Coloured in terms of the Population Registration Act (me included) - but I for one, cannot deny a social identity created in the context our marred history.
So, in terms of the postcolonial discourse- we construct our hybrid identities- but do that within a common history, but also current social configurations-we cannot at will jump over our dark shadows. So undeniably, we become South African- through a Coloured experience and history and became black through an struggle choice. ( Maybe this is why some don't underdstand how Luke Watson - a white boy, can be black in Rasool's eyes- it was a choice). Coloured-ness cannot be denied.
Monday, April 16, 2007
The question of identity and the construction of identity, bruin identity in this case, is much more than this- it is socially constructed and whether we like it or not .... all of us.. white, black, african, afrikaner are mixed and genetically come from the same genepool. In the context of slavery and colonialism and late colonialism ( industrial capitalism -towards globalisation) identity contruction relates to class, language, location etc. ( many other factors- I only refer to these to make the point that it is socially constructed) For now, coloureds or bruin mense need to look at our concrete location and in my view, start to deal with it where we are now- take our history and start to appreciate the creolization that happened and is still happening and be part of the reconstruction of our broader... national identities...
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wanneer sal ons son dan skyn?
Wanneer sal ons pyn dan kwyn?
Wanneer sal ons geld verskyn?
Wanneer sal ons kind
Wanneer kom ons grond dan deur?
Wanneer kom ons taal dan weer?
Wanneer sal swart bemagtiging ons pad kom?
Wanneer sal die bank ons n persentasie gee in n groot 'Deal'?
Wanneer sal die toeriste na ons 'township' kom?
Wanneer, ja wanneer sal ons kleur ons help?
Wanneer sal my kroes kop my red?
Wanneer sal my ouma in
Wanneer sal my oupa in Engeland my weer Colanise?
Wanneer sal ons San en Khoi ouers weer skiet?
Wanneer gaan die duiwel ons los?
Wanneer sal ons ekonomies vry
Wanneer gaan die meneer ons leer?
Wanneer staan ons op ons kop?
Wanneer staan ons weer op?
Wanneer kom oom Basie en aunt Amie my soek?
Wanneer kom oupa Doenkie en oupa Dan my haal?
Wanneer kom Zombie uit haar elende uit?
Wanneer kom die 'Kaas' en Bulte weer uit?
Wanneer kom Ignatius en Jesse terug?
Wanneer steek die Comrades uit?
Wanneer steek die UDF weer uit?
Wanneer sal ons die Freedom Charter
Wanneer praat ou Boesak weer?
Wanneer swem ou Hendriks weer?
Wanneer breek ou Khoisan X deur?
Wanneer spy Patricia weer?
Wanneer kom die Klopse weer?
Wanneer sing die Ghoema weer?
Wanneer kom ons Culture weer?
Wanneer, wanneer, wanneer?
.....deur Anthony Phillip Williams ....
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Ek is van Afrika,
Sonder twyfel, onmiskenbaar -
Al sê wie ook wat!
Die wat dit probeer ontken
Stry teen hulself, tevergeefs.
Ek is Khoi-San, Bruin, Kleurling,
Maak nie meer saak wat jy my noem.
Feit van die saak is, ek is hier
Deel van hierdie land, hierdie kontinent,
Was nog altyd hier -
Al sê wie ook wat!
Trots op wie ek is
My geskiedenis, my tradisie,
my kultuur, my geloof
Het dit, gebore met dit -
Al sê wie ook wat!
Hou maar op om te konfereer
Te sukkel om my te definieer.
Proudly South African
No strings attached
What you see is what you get
No pretence, no disguise
Moeg van politieke speelbal wees
Niemand se ding, se objek, se verbruikersartikel
Kry dit nou in jou kop
Jy kan my nie eers omkoop met 'n dop!
Hou op my te objektiveer
Dit maak diep seer
Van die suidpunt van Afrika
Hier gebore, hier getoë
Ek ken geen ander tuiste
Ek weier om te emigreer
Hier sal ek lewe, hier sal ek sterwe
Uit die grond tot die grond -
Al sê wie ook wat!
Ek het hierdie gediggie net na die laaste plaaslike verkiesing geskryf. Die debat in die Wes-Kaap voor en na die verkiesing het (weereens) oor die Bruinmense gegaan. Daar is ook duidelik 'n oplewing in die debat die afgelope klompie weke.
* Niemand mag eintlik twyfel oor die feit dat die Bruinmense of Kleurlinge 'n spesifieke groep is nie. Ekself, saam met vele ander, het vir baie jare onsself gesien as Swart, of, as dit dan moes, as "sogenaamde Kleurlinge". Die politieke realitiet vandag is dat ons gesien word as Bruin of Kleurling. Hieroor wil ek nie nog energie mors nie.
* Ons moet erkenning gee aan die diverse samestelling van hierdie groep. Daar is pogings om byvoorbeeld die Khoi-San tradisie en kulturele wortels te herbevestig - dit moet respekteer word. Daar is egter ook vele van ons wat nie noodwendig so sterk hieroor voel nie - ook dit moet respekteer word.
* Ek wil eerder graag my energie bestee aan spesifieke issues wat my mense raak en na aan die hart lê - as leier binne hierdie gemeenskap help om negatiwiteit, 'resignasie' en selfs self-bejammering te verdryf en te vervang met 'n gevoel van trots Suid-Afrikaans, trots Afrikaan. Om in die woorde van die African-American pastorale teoloog, Edward Wimberly, 'to edit or re-author the negative internalized stories and identities."
* Dit gaan beslis vir my nie om 'n soort van neo-Apartheid of separatisme, of "Kleurling-Weerstandsbeweging" nie. Die groter prentjie van 'n nie-rassige en nie-seksistiese demokratiese Suid-Afrika bly steeds die fokus - en die stryd. Dit beteken dat ons spesifiek moet meewerk aan die oorsteek van grense en die afbreek van skeidsmure.
* Ek erken dat ons almal slagoffers van Apartheid is. Ek glo dat enige persoon of groep wat dit probeer ontken, nie eerlik is nie, en dus nie instrumenteel is of kan wees in die bou van die ware nuwe Suid-Afrika nie. Net soos daar rassisme onder Bruinmense is, is daar rassisme onder die ander bevolkingsgroepe. Dis mos nou maar eenmaal lekkerder om die splinter in die ander se oog raak te sien.
* Laat ons altyd onthou dat ons nie net "teen" Apartheid, ongeregtigheid, ongelykheid, politieke en ekonomiese uitbuiting, ens. baklei het nie, maar ook "vir" bepaalde dinge soos nie-rassigheid, nie-seksisme, demokrasie, gelykheid, gelykberegtiging, menswaardigheid, ens.
Llewellyn LM MacMaster
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Head of the Southern African Human Security Programme at the Institute for Security Studies,
The nature and form of coloured identity in the
has been vociferously debated. Coloured identity became a particular concern after the 1994 general elections when the coloured vote returned the National Party to the Western Cape provincial government. More recently, a spate of incidents in the Western Cape have propelled the group into the national spotlight.Many coloureds have indicated that they feel marginalised in the post-apartheid dispensation, and are especially resentful at what they perceive to be a preferential allocation of resources to Africans in the Western Cape , when their needs are just as great. These tensions were highlighted when a group of coloureds protested against the relocation of Africans, whose informal housing had been destroyed in a fire, to a hostel in the coloured Western Cape . township of Bokmakkierie
In June 2005 factionalism within the provincial African National Congress (ANC) executive, widely proclaimed by the media to be between the ‘Africanists’ and the ‘non-racialists’, sparked renewed tensions. The tr aditi onal practice of the ANC in the region was to ensure that the ANC executive was largely representative of the demography of the province. The ‘Africanists’ asserted that this norm was dated, that representivity should be reflective of the majority of people who voted the ANC into power in the province, and that there was a need for speedier transformation in the
. Little ideological difference was discernible between the two factions within the ANC. This was essentially an internal power struggle at play. Despite intervention by the National ANC, Premier Ebrahim Rasool, selected by the president and known for his policy of creating a ‘home for all’, was humiliatingly ousted from the position of chair of the Western Cape Western Cape ANC.
But it was an editorial on an obscure website hosted by Blackman Ngoro, the political advisor of the mayor of
, Nomaindia Mfeketo, that incited local fury and national reactions. The editorial highlighted the continued tensions between coloureds and Africans, degraded coloureds as ‘drunkards’, and asserted that Africans were ‘culturally superior to coloureds’. In most other contexts this editorial would have been dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic, but given the above events, it provided a perfect canvas to depict the resentment that had been building up in the province. Political parties jumped onto the bandwagon, using the debacle as an opportunity to portray the ANC as anti-coloured (not surprisingly as local elections are approaching), and calls for the expulsion of Mr Ngoro and the mayor ensued. Cape Town
It is evident then that racialised tensions in the
persist and may even be on the increase. If these tensions are not properly addressed, the proclaimed unity, non-racialism or reconciliation, already splitting at the seams, will be destroyed. But how do we make sense of the problems and how do we begin to address them? Western Cape
The typical response has been to debate coloured identity. The underlying assumption is that there is something fundamentally wrong with this identity and that some ideological transformation of the bearers of the identity will resolve the problems. This type of response draws on the dominant discourse that has portrayed that identity as bureaucratically constructed and therefore deviant. The onus is then placed on coloureds to change. This is a limited response that forecloses debate on the identity, does not grapple with the larger context of identity constructions in
, and does not adequately address the issues that generate conflict in the South Africa . Western Cape
We cannot have a meaningful discussion on coloured identity in isolation from other identities that shape its expression. When discussing the identity we need to take into account conceptual issues (Whom are we speaking about?), discursive issues (How has the identity been constructed? By whom? In which contexts?), and perceived power relations in
. South Africa
I will not devote attention to whether this group qualifies to be classified as a separate ethnic group in
. This question has detained many authors on the subject and they either essentialise the group through listing attributed cultural iconography or dismiss them for supposed lack of symbolic capital. My premise is that all groups are socially constructed and all groups are diverse. It seems meaningless and disingenuous to legitimate, or delegitimate, some groups on the basis of degrees of coherence, authors of the identity constructions and/or period of the construction. What is important is whether a sufficient number of people feel themselves to be distinct and/or are ‘othered’ by the dominant groups in a society. This is true of the coloureds in the South Africa . Western Cape
Who are the coloureds?
Coloureds are often identified as South Africans who are of mixed race. Since everyone is of mixed race (as there is no such thing as a pure race), the identity is ipso facto meaningless (but then so are all other racial identities presumed on the basis of authenticity or purity). However, we do not dismiss these identities because they have social meaning and material consequences. Coloureds are descendants of the sexual liaisons between colonialists, slaves and the indigenous Khoisan. This ‘mixing’ took place centuries ago and state-enforced self-reproduction has largely been the means through which the group multiplied.
However, coloureds are not simply the offspring of inter-racial liaisons. And, conversely, children of ‘mixed marriages’ do not automatically lay claim to a coloured identity. This is a complex historically located identity that stems from the processes of slavery, genocide, rape and perceived miscegenation. The identity construction has been cloaked by the perceived shame of ‘illegitimacy’ and lack of authenticity that has to a large extent psychologically disempowered the bearers of the identity. For most of the history of this community, steeped in oppression and struggles for liberation, had been erased and/or silenced by successive regimes and the group members themselves.
An uncovering and re-representation of that history will locate the community as quintessentially a sub-group of a larger African identity and negate the sense of non-belonging that remains an undercurrent of the identity. This does not imply that they lose the specificities of their own identity: there are a multitude of ethnicities in the broader African identity. However, this reconstruction is not something that is entirely dependent on coloureds themselves. It requires all South Africans to change their perceptions and ways of interaction.
Identity construction is but one of the issues that lead to tensions in the
For a long time the national policy of affirmative action was erroneously perceived by many coloureds to be part of the reason for their inability to find work. The collapse of the textile industry, the employment of contract workers in the farming areas, and the overall shift in South Africa away from reliance on manual labour to skilled labour account for the rapid increase in unemployment. The coloured working class has largely been unable to compete for the more skilled positions.
The provincial government responded to the housing crises by primarily delivering services to those they perceived as most in need of them, that is, people in the squatter camps that had spread along the highway. This generated tensions not only in the coloured communities who felt that their housing needs were not being catered for, but also in the informal settlements where older Khayelitsha residents felt that preference was being given to the new arrivals. The cry of marginalisation from coloureds is therefore more acutely located among urban-based working-class communities. This is reflected in the voting patterns. Rural-based working-class coloureds vote predominantly for the ANC, while their counterparts in
In addressing the tensions that have emerged in the Western Cape, we need a more comprehensive approach that takes into account historical, psychological and material factors, and we need to unpack the ways in which current forms of service delivery and methods of transformation exacerbate the problems. There is an urgent need for social dialogue in the province. This dialogue must not focus, yet again, on the nature of coloured identity. It needs to speak to the broader issues of rights and belonging, and create consensus on the ways in which we will make the
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Let me qoute quickly from Pearlie Joubert's article, ' More than 90% of all the residents in Imizamo Yethu live in shacks, as do half of the 8000 coloured residents of Hangberg. Hayword's proposed removal of preople will not only affect the homeless in Imizamo Yethu, but also more than 4000 people living in plastic and wooden shacks in the coloured township of Hangberg. The DA got a massive boost from Hangberg community during this by-election, tripling its support'.
How do we explain this: coloured communities vote for councillors and then these same elected politicians turn around and turn on them- what a disgrace ... or is there someone down there in the Houtbay ( Hangberg area) who knows what is going on ?
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Ted Leggett, Institute for Security Studies
Is the crime problem in the Western Cape and the Northern Cape rooted in the coloured population? Official figures suggest that coloured people are twice as likely as any other ethnic group to be murdered, and twice as likely to be incarcerated. Unfortunately, it is impossible to properly explore the linkage between the crime rates in the Cape and the coloured communities without station-level crime statistics, which the police no longer release to the public. Nevertheless, more research is needed to understand the links between this group and the crime problem.
Coloured people are a minority group in South Africa. According to the 2001 Census data, they represent just 9% of the country's population. But in two provinces – the Western Cape and the Northern Cape – they are the majority. 1 Any discussion of conditions in these two provinces cannot ignore this population group.
There is not, nor has there ever been, a clear definition of the population group referred to as 'coloured', and the usefulness of the term has been questioned. But it does refer to a group of people who, rightly or wrongly, were lumped together in the past, and therefore share a common history. This history has often been a troubled one. The commonly heard lament is that coloured people were not 'white enough' under apartheid and are not 'black enough' in the new democracy. The sense of this complaint is that coloured people continue to feel socially excluded, even under democracy.
Assigned a status above black Africans under apartheid, the largely Afrikaans-speaking coloured population found itself voting for the National Party in 1994 and thus initially delivering the province to the opposition. Arguably, this affiliation has led to continued marginalisation. Reinforcing this distance is the problem of crime, which is at once a symptom and cause of exclusion.
Victims and perpetrators
As is discussed elsewhere in this issue (see the article by Thomson), coloured people are far more likely to be murdered than any other group, and this has been the case for quite some time. Thomson's projected figures indicate that coloured people are more than twice as likely to be murdered than black people in 2003 (Figure 1).
This sad fact is backed up by figures from the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS), which also show coloureds to be far more vulnerable. In both 2001 and 2002, the NIMSS recorded a disproportionately large number of coloured homicides in the total reviewed: 14% in 2001 and 13% in 2002, compared to the 9% share held by coloureds in the national population. As is also true in the black community, homicide is the number one cause of non-natural death among coloureds, outpacing suicides, automobile accidents, and other non-intentional injuries by a wide margin. The 2002 data show that coloured victims are the only ethnic group more likely to be stabbed (44%) than shot to death (39%) – the average is 54% shot compared to only 30% stabbed. 2
Unfortunately, it is highly likely that the assailants of these victims were also coloured. Victim survey data, as well as docket research on murder by the SAPS' Crime Information Analysis Centre, suggest that the vast majority of murder victims are killed by people they know, including intimate partners and family members. 3 Due to persistent segregation in the country, the chances are that most murder victims are of the same ethnicity as the perpetrator.
Coloured people are also over-represented in the nation's prisons according to the Department of Correctional Services (Figure 2). Coloured people represent only 9% of the national population, but they make up 18% of the national prison population. Coloured people are also nearly twice as likely to be imprisoned than African blacks.
Higher levels of incarceration suggest, but do not establish, higher levels of criminality in this community. There are other reasons why more coloureds might be in jail than other ethnic groups, including the possibilities that this population group is being targeted for enforcement, that this group may lack access to good legal counsel, or that judges in the area are especially punitive. It may be that other ethnic groups have other ways of dealing with crime problems, through private security or traditional means of dealing with offenders, while the coloured community is more reliant on the state.
What high incarceration rates do establish is the level of exposure within the community to a correctional system too overpopulated to encourage rehabilitation, including being subject to the violence of gangsterism, drugs, and the possibility of being sexually assaulted while in custody (see S Gear and K Ngubeni, SA Crime Quarterly No 4, June 2003). 4 The effects of this victimisation may lead to further violence upon release. Being incarcerated may also lead to life-long gang allegiances that keep inmates locked into criminal lifestyles even after release.
But this does not explain why coloured people find themselves in this situation to begin with. While much further research is required to answer this question, some obvious points need to be made at the outset.
Problems confronting the coloured community
Because the coloured people have experienced higher murder rates since the earlier parts of the last century, any explanation of the violence in this community would have to include extensive historical research, which is beyond the scope of this article. Focusing strictly on present social conditions, however, several factors can be identified that could be linked to long-term trends.
Pressured idlenessAs a population group, the coloured people remain better off than the black African population, though considerably poorer than the whites or the Indians. For example, the white population of South Africa sits at about 6% unemployment, while 27% of coloured people are unemployed and 50% of the black population is unemployed. 5
Looking at changes since 1994, however, unemployment has increased only 19% in the black community, compared to 35% in the coloured community.6 Thus, relative to accustomed standard of living, the coloured community has experienced more detrimental change since 1994 than the black community.
In addition, with the loss of the job preferences given to coloureds under apartheid, many coloured people today find themselves competing with black Africans for lower skill jobs: 32% of employed coloured people work in "elementary occupations" (unskilled labour) compared to 34% of black people. 7 Thus, any sense that affirmative action is favouring black Africans, who hold political power, would increase the sense of exclusion.
Given that the Western and Northern Cape provinces have the highest matric pass rates in the country,8 an obvious strategy would be for coloured graduates to move toward the high skill end of the job market. The latest census results suggest that this is not happening. While coloured people are slightly more likely to have finished secondary school than blacks (19% versus 17%), they are less likely to have tertiary education. 9 Of members of the population aged 5-24, 36% of the coloured community is not enrolled in an educational facility, compared to 27% of the black community. 10
Why young coloured people are not continuing their education at the rate of young blacks is a subject in need of further research. But those who opt out of tertiary study further contribute to the pool of urban, idle, and marginalised youth.
Formal employment is far more important in urban areas than rural ones, and the coloured population is largely urban based. In the Western Cape, coloured people were resettled under apartheid into high-density 'dormitory communities' in the Cape Flats. This has meant greater access to formal housing, but little room to expand as families grew.
Only 4% of coloured people live in shacks, compared to 16% of the black population, but coloured people have the largest household size of any population group. Despite the fact that fertility levels are less than in the black community (an estimated 2.5 live births among coloureds in 1998 compared to 3.1 in the black community),11 coloured households average 4.3 members, compared to 3.9 among black people. 12 While this may not sound like much, consider that many coloured people are living in two bedroom flats, and that these average figures include households many times this size.
As a result, areas like the coloured townships of the so-called Cape Flats are characterised by high concentrations of jobless people who need cash to pay rent, purchase food, and pay for services. Disadvantaged under apartheid, they may still feel disadvantaged under democracy, and have no revolutionary hopes that the situation will change drastically in the future.
Population density has been correlated with juvenile delinquency in at least 12 academic studies. But residential mobility has been deemed an even more robust correlate13 and, paradoxically, all indications are that the coloured areas are some of the most stable. In the Cape Flats, the high cost of rent outside the coloured townships causes tenants to cling to their 99-year leases. As children are born and families expand, these densely settled areas leave little room to expand. As less than 4% of coloured households live in shacks, squatting is hardly an option. This causes further crowding, but strong population stability.
Ironically, however, the stability of the population in the Cape Flats seems to have become a factor in shaping the nature of crime in the area. In a word, it could lead to the creation of gangs.
With little room inside the home, coloured youth in urban areas spend a lot of time on the streets. The playgroup becomes a kind of surrogate family, but with a different set of norms. When the norms of the street become more important than the norms of the home, you have a gang.
Stable populations feed this phenomenon. Long-term residence may result in identification with 'turf' among local youth. Lack of mobility may cause perpetrators to pick local victims, but the face-to-face familiarity found in stable neighbourhoods could deter selecting immediately local victims. This could result in the broader community becoming fragmented into factions, which are at once protective and aggressive.
A great deal has been written on gangs in the coloured community, but much of this now needs updating. There is need for fresh research in this area, and for the national government to develop a strategy for dealing with the issue.
Due to their presence in the country's wine growing areas, many coloured people have historically worked in the vineyards. As a result of the so-called 'dop system', in which labourers were paid part of their wages in wine, alcoholism is rife in certain parts of the community. A 1995 survey of Stellenbosch farms revealed that the dop system was still prevalent on 9.5% of farms,14 and the legacy of alcoholism could extend well beyond the years of farm labour. The dop system is diabolical in its ability to keep labour submissive and dependent, and has had the side effect of promoting violence, dysfunctional families, and foetal alcohol syndrome.
As discussed in the previous article, foetal alcohol syndrome is more prevalent in the Western Cape than just about anywhere in the world, and this is especially true in the coloured community. In the Stellenbosch study cited above, nearly 6% of the children in the study showed signs of foetal alcohol syndrome. 15
The NIMSS tested the blood alcohol contents of people who died unnatural deaths in 2002, and found that coloured people were the ethnic group most likely to have alcohol in their systems at the time of death: 68% compared to an overall average of 50%. They were also the group most likely to have extreme levels of alcohol present, with 17% having blood alcohol contents of more that.25 g per 100 ml, compared to an overall average of 12%.16
Unfortunately, alcohol is not the only substance abused in the community. Mandrax, a street version of a discontinued pharmaceutical sedative of the same name, is abused in South Africa like nowhere else in the world. The tablet is smoked with a combination of tobacco and cannabis that has been treated with a solvent in a combination known as a 'white pipe'. Urine testing of arrestees has shown that over half of coloured men in the sample tested positive for Mandrax in their systems (Figure 3). 17
Mandrax has been one of the primary commodities traded by gang members since the mid-1980s, and its dis-inhibitive effects may be associated with violence. In addition, drug markets have increased the stakes in gang conflict, providing another impetus for turf wars. The Mandrax market also paved the way for dealing in even more addictive drugs that have emerged in the country and the community since 1994, including crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.
There are very few state rehabilitation facilities in the Cape – far too few to cope with the need. The complex links between drugs and gangsterism need further research, and an action plan needs to be devised to address the uniquely South African scourge of the white pipe.
Is the Cape crime problem a coloured problem?
In order to evaluate whether coloured people contribute disproportionately to the crime problem in the Cape, the crime rates in coloured and non-coloured areas would have to be compared. Unfortunately, this is impossible without station-level crime statistics – figures that the government no longer releases to the public.
Without this information, it is impossible to tell whether the present crime rates are being fuelled primarily by incidents in coloured areas or other areas, or whether the violence is related to gangs or to tensions around the influx of migrants from the Eastern Cape, for example.
Looking back at 1998 figures, crime rates between station areas can be compared. In the West Metropole police area of Cape Town, several station areas were nearly ethnically 'pure': Langa, Nyanga, and Guguletu were almost 100% black, while Manenberg, Mitchell's Plain, and Phillipi were almost 100% coloured. In the Eastern Metropole police area, Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, and Elsie's River were almost 100% coloured, and Khayalitsha was almost 100% black.
While crime rates in all these areas are bad, the 1998 figures suggest that it is the black areas of the Cape Town metropole that had the worst violence problem. Nyanga had the worst murder rate (176 per 100,000), Guguletu the worst firearm robbery rate (340 per 100,000), and Langa the worst assault with grievous bodily harm rate (1,123 per 100,000). Mitchell's Plain had the worst burglary rate (1,040 per 100,000), and coloured areas generally scored higher for property crime. Whether this pattern is still true today will remain a state secret for the time being.
Simply urban and marginalised?
But crime rates in most of these areas of the Cape Town metropolitan area are quite egregious, and if a greater share of the coloured population lives in such urban areas, compared to the share of the black population that lives in them, this could partly explain the higher crime rate in the coloured community in general. The relatively low rates of murder in the black community may be due to the fact that a large portion of this group is based in low-crime, rural areas.
In other words, murder rates in the national coloured population may be highest because a higher share of the coloured population is both urban and poor when compared to other ethnic groups. While the most dangerous police station areas in the country may be black, the average coloured station area is more dangerous than the average black station area.
This does not explain why it is in the urban areas of the Western Cape and Northern Cape in particular that crime is so bad, as opposed to the other urban areas. More research is required to sort out what lies behind this problem, and to inform the interventions needed to correct the situation. Access to current station-level statistics would be a great help in this regard.
According to Census 2001, coloured people comprise 54% of the population of the Western Cape, followed by black people (27%), white people (18%) and Indian people (1%), and 52% of the Northern Cape, followed by black people (36%), white people (12%), and Indian people (less than 1%).
Third Annual Report of the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System, Crime, Violence, and Injury Lead Programme of the Medical Research Council, Cape Town, 2001. The 2002 data was derived from a special report prepared for the ISS by the MRC.
2002/3 Annual Report, South African Police Service, Pretoria, 2003.
For a description of the risks involved in serving time in South Africa, see S Gear, and K Ngubeni, Daai Ding: Sex, sexual violence, and coercion in men's prisons, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Johannesburg, 2003.
Strict definition, aged 15-65, Census 2001.
M Schonteich, Terrorism in the new South Africa: What threat does it pose?, Paper presented to Griffiths and Associates, 14 February 2003.
Northern Cape has highest matric pass rate, SAPA news release, 30 December 2003; Fast Facts, South African Institute for Race Relations, Johannesburg, February 1999.
South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 1998, Preliminary Report, Department of Health, Medical Research Council, Macro International; 1999, as cited at http://new.hst.org.za.
L Ellis and A Walsh, Criminology: A global perspective, Needham Heights, Allyn and Bacon, 2000, p 147–148.
JM Te Water Naude, K Charlton, R Sayed, M Dausab, C Marco, K Rendall-Mkosi, and L London, The Dopstop Association – Promoting health on farms, Health Promotion Update, Issue No 53, July 2000.
MRC, 2002, op cit.
T Leggett (ed), Drugs and crime in South Africa: A study in three cities, ISS Monograph No 69, Pretoria, Institute for Security Studies, 2002.
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