Monday, December 31, 2007

The David Kramer and Taliep Pietersensongbook

What an experience of celebration. laughter, tears and nostalgia ! Running in the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, this production brilliantly, showcase the genius of the Kramer-Pietersen partnership. The chronicles of the slave communities in the Cape and their important contribution to the rich cultural, religious and language heritage in SA and beyond, as told, sang and danced in their musicals like 'Districk Six', 'Cat and the Kings', 'Ghoema' is pure magic. To be amongst an audience, no, to be part of this celebration amongst South-Africans with all the shades of creed or colour, from virtually all corners of the land and various classes and generations is an amazing experience. This can be enjoyed with the whole family (unlike the Joe Barber series), allthough parents or extended family should (can?) give personal background to some of the scenes. Maybe the Langa-scene (Lagunya), with the Afro's was of the few (if not only?) false notes. It felt a bit superficial, through the eyes of a Gautenger, who are enthralled by YFm and MetroFm's dance crazes, mixed from the North. (no offense Cape Town !).This is a pity,maybe an opportunity lost...to indeed emphasise the fluidity of the cultural scene in our history. The highlight, for many, most probably was, 'Dancing on my own', with black and white images of Taliep Pietersen smiling at us is the background. Overall, it was an excellent tribute to a great son of the soil, a son of Africa...a gift to the world..humble, yet great in his rootedness, Taliep Pietersen..

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace on earth

May the earth community be blessed with the gift of Peace/Shalom/Salaam. May we as humanity recieve this gift as co-pilgrims on a journey, following humble signs of hope. Reggie

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hoop uit Bridgeton, Oudshoorn

Oppad Kaaptoe luister mens mos al jou CD's lam...dan slaan jy oor na waar Radio 'opvang'. So tussen Colesburg en Hanover tel RSG plek-plek op en vertel Vaders Mosterd van 'n afrikaanse Rooms Katolieke gemeenskap, wat ingrypende werk doen te midde van 'gangsterism', HIV en armoede. Opgewonde beskryf hy hulself as 'seker die enigste Afrikaanse klooster in die wereld', wat katolieke materiaal vertaal in Afrikaans, in Bridgetown, Oudshoorn. Dis egter hier, in die ou bruin lokasie, waar 'n rommelhoop omskep word in 'n gemeenskap van hoop.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Zuma-hoop vir versoening en nuwe verhoudinge

Te midde van 'n ANC wat uitmekaar skeur, wonder mens onwillekeurig of Zuma die een sal wees wat versoening en nuwe verhoudings sal kan teweeg bring, in ons land. Sommige is van mening dat hyself die oorsaak is vir die verdeeltheid binne die ANC, ander voer egter aan dat die verdeeltheid dieper loop, op ideologiese gronde. Die kwessie rondom versoening en die rol van identiteite binne 'n oorkoepelende ( of integrerende) Suid Afrikaanse nasionale identiteit is 'crucial' aangesien dit die toetsteen is vir mense se waardigheid. JZ het nou al moeite gemaak on vir Steve Hofmeyer, die sanger en verskeie Afrikaner groepe te ontmoet. Vermoedelik is hulle instemming in sy agenda, vir hom belangrik in die skep van kohesie en versoening. Hyself is nie skaam om etnisiteit op sy bors te dra nie en meer as Thabo Mbeki, word hy gesien as toegangklik vir die gewone mense, 'n eienskap wat baie sien as die rede vir sy populariteit. Die uitdaging vir die versoening mag egter nie bloot gesien word in die persoonlikheid of charisma van een persoon nie, eerder in die beleid en die openbare debat rondom identiteit. Etnisiteit en kultuur is maar van die aspekte wat in ag geneem moet word in die debat rondom versoening. Dit gaan ook oor ekononomise bemagtiging en regstelling. Oor hierdie aspekte sal gepraat moet word ten einde die deur wyer oop te maak vir Suid Afrikaners, vanwaaruit uiteenlopende groepe tuiskom in hierdie land. As die Zuma-era hierdie gesprek aan die gang kan kry dan is daar hoop vir veroening en nuwe verhoudinge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Deshun Deysel on life and leadership


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

Pop queens Tansey and Jody indication of a shift in pop culture ?


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

Afrikaans en die heil van Bruinmense

'n Baie insiggewende debat word gevoer in die Afrikaanse dagblaaie oor die vraag of daar 'n verband bestaan tussen bruin Afrikaansprekendes se armoede en die huidige stryd om Afrikaans se publieke plek. Richard van der Ross, eertydse rektor van UWK laat ook homself uit in sy bydrae in die Beeldforum (4 Des 2007). Uiteraard kom die debat al 'n lang pad en veral in Litnet en Die Vrye Afrikaan woed hierdie gesprek al 'n geruime tyd oor die vraag waarom dit lyk asof bruin Afrikaansprekendes nie so vurig stry vir die taal nie. Bekroonde skrywer, Abraham Phillips, neem egter die strydbyl op vir Afrikaans in sy artikel, Die tragedie van Afrikaans en arm mense (Die Burger 20 Nov 2007). In 'n neutedop kla hy bruin intellektuele aan dat hulle nie in woord en daad opstaan teen wat hy noem die 'dooddruk en uitfasering van Afrikaans nie'. Met spesifieke verwysing na US (Stellenbosch Universiteit) en die SABC( die nasionale uitsaaier) is dit sy mening dat die uitfasering 'behoort dieselfde reaksie ontlok as eie vergrype van Robert Mugabe'(!). Dit lyk asof Phillips van mening is dat, indien SA se bruin en wit intellektuele' daarteen veg en die stryd moontlik wen (en sodoende Afrikaans red), bruin en swart Afrikaanssprekendes, veral op die platteland en die Kaapse Vlakte, opgang sal maak. Andersom, indien daar nie gehoor gegee word nie, sal 'n katrastrofe volg.

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

Race-Ryland Fischer

Former editor of the Cape Times, Ryland Fisher's, recent publication simply named "Race" is indeed "a timely and highly readable book" (backcover). Being a journalist his style of writing does not only cater for the academic audience, but in itself opens up the possibility for a broad based dialogue on matters that have gone underground. In his Foreword, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, concludes, "Ultimately, this book is but a starting point for a much-needed discusion on race. Read it and let's start talking" (2007:xi). How does Fisher do this ? He starts this book by the provocative Introduction qouting the well known disclaimer: " I am not a racist, but ....". Whilst nobody else dare owning up to being a racist, he however confess in these opening sentences ".....I believe I am a racist... Moreover, I believe that most people in South Africa are racists.". Well, its always risky to speak on behalf of "most people in South Africa", but Fisher seemingly aim to substantiate this claim in the way he treats these conversation(s). In this book he presents a glimps into these conversations with a mixture of various (prominent and not so prominent) South Africans, amongst them young people, young professional South Africans as well as our current Minister of Education Me Naledi Pandor. This methodology, I think, adds to the value of this book, as we simply hear a cross-section of South Africans talking about their experiences and opinions about various themes relating to race. These conversational themes he shares in 13 chapters focusing on "Race in the not-so-new SA", "Who are we?", "What is racism?", "The after-effects of apartheid", "Is racism a South African problem?", "Xenophobia", "Can racism ever be eliminated?", "Language and race", "Racism in the media", "Criticising government: Is this racism", "Is there still need for exclusively black ( or white) organisations?", "How do we explain apartheid to our youth?" and "The future". Fisher engage on these conversations from a particular perspective and every chapter includes a general introduction to the theme as well as in some, the setting, and later (not as conclusions!) his own (subjective) thoughts linking it to the next theme. The particular perspective is his own journey, as a coloured South African with the social constructedness of race. He writes about this jounrey, so poignent, "Recently, however, I have noticed that people who used to acccept me as black now refer to me as coloured, and by that action, exclude me and others who may or may not look like me from the majority of South Africans again.(2007:5)This is a key thread to make sense of the various voices. The book however does not claim to cover all the voices, but also it does not give neat recipe-type answers to the problem of identity formation in a postcolonial context. Maybe this was not his intention at the beginning. This book however does take the dialogue on these complext matters from under the table to try to bravely square up to it. I think it shows brilliantly the complexity of this dialogue, but also the continued relevancy and salience of race, currently.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rapport se krisis loop dieper as anti-666-veldtog

Skielik skrik almal wakker oor die feit dat Rapport, dans na die musiek van 'n konserwatiewe Afrikaanse leserskring, maar ook hul corporatist bestuursbeleid, waar eenvoudig alles op die mark is. Volgende Tim was die Rapport se besluit bloot op kommersiële gronde. Die vraag is of die Rapport alleen is in hierdie hoek en of dit nie endemies is van die breer Afrikaanse malaise in die nuwe SA nie. Johan R (Glasoog) in die By skryf gereeld oor die 'gnossies', wat hulsef verdiep in hul ekonomiese opgang en nie 'n erg het aan die 'nuwe SA' nie. Emeritus professor in ekonomie aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, Sampie Terreblance loop deur onder die sms'e wanneer hy waag om te sê die koning is kaal. Uiteraard is die werklikhede deel van die klag teen die nuwe regering se ekonomiese beleid, naamlik dat dit essensieel inspeel in die saamvloei van die media netwerke, internet en die neo-liberale ekonomiese ideologie. Aan die een kant besef ons die opkomende mag van die nuwe informasie en kommunikasie tegnologie teenoor die gedrukte media, maar aan die ander kant expose dit die feit dat min verander het in terme van die magsbalans. Ekonomiese en kulturele mag skryf, Christi van de Westhuisen, verskans nog steeds wit mag. 'Net omdat die mees sigbare gestalte van wit mag-die Nasionale Party- daarmee heen is, beteken dit nie dat wit mag nie meer met ons is nie. Die opvallendse manifestasie is wit ekonomiese mag en bevoordeling' (Perspektief, 18 Nov 2007). Beteken dit nou dat die Rapport getransformeer is deur die kritiese gasskrywes soos Christi, (in Perspektief) of bruinmense soos Hein Willemse, Jakes Gerwel ens, uit te nooi? Nee, die feit dat gaste uitgenooi word om (by tye of self gereeld) in die sitkamer kom sit beteken nie dat hulle deel van die huishouding is en besluit oor hoe die huis ingerig moet of kan word nie. Wat ons met die tuin gaan maak en watter kos ons eet - laat staan maar die besluite oor wanneer ons gaan aanbou en hoe die begroting bestee word; dit word nie in die sitkamer, met gaste, bespreek nie. Wie eintlik nog die hardste praat wanneer hierdie besluite geneem word, is die dieper krisis van Rapport... en die oplossing het nie en lê nie in die aanstelling van nog 'n 'shockjock' nie.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kleinbaas Deon Maas afgedank by Rapport

Die Burger berig dat kleinbaas Maas na twee weke die trekpas gekry het by Rapport. Dit lyk asof die plan van Tim Du Plessis om die getalle kunsmatig te stoot, sleg gebackfire het en dat die Rapport wyd geboycott is weens Maas se kansvattery. 'n Response deur gv, het dit raak gevat, deur die Rapport strategie te tipeer as 'skoorskrywery', wat bekend is in die buiteland en, so is gehoop, die koerant se verkope sou opstoot. Tim, julle het egter (weereens !) die Suid Afrikaanse konteks verkeerd gelees. Die debatte oor die toekoms van Afrikaanse media, maar in die breë Afrikaanse taal moet rekening hou met die feit dat eerder die geloofwaardigheid van, maar ook bemagtiging deur Afrikaans ( vgl Christo van der Rheede se werk met die Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans) relevant is-nie korttermyn foefies, wat mense vervreem, nie. Ja, maar Rapport se kernmark is miskien nog steeds 'n keiharde konserwatiewe Afrikaner, sou sommige beweer, n.a.v. die gebeure (dit lyk in elk geval na Maas se verweer). Dit gaan egter dieper; dit gaan eerder oor die vraag: hoe lyk 'n herdefinisie van die Afrikaanse media in die nuwe Suid Afrika en die toekoms ? Hoe posisioneer ons die Afikaanse media. Die keuse vir 'n neo-liberale 'doel (wins) heilig die middele' pad, waarin selfs die waardes van die gemeenskap waarbinne jy opereeer ook for sale is, teenoor die pad as sosiale gewete, waghond, die stem van stemloses, in 'n alles oorheersende ekonomiese empire lyk 'n fundamentele keuse te wees om te maak. Rapport het ontstaan binne die konteks van die Afrikanerdom se opstaan teen die Britse empire...dit was egter te eng en daarom sukkel Rapport egter nogsteeds om die feit dat derduisense afrikaanse Bruinmense ook die afrikaanse media weekliks lees, deeglik te verdiskonteer in terme van die beriggewing, maar ten diepste die etos en beleidsriging van die blad. G'n wonder dan dat die 'kleinbaas Maas'-sage nou (en vorentoe) so sleg op Rapport reflekteer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Afrikaner Bond vry na Bruinmense

Vanoggend het Freek, by Gesels Saam op RSG met die Afrikaner Bond ( vroeere Afrikaner Broederbond) se leiers gepraat. Alhoewel Jan Bosman (Besturende Direkteur) ook daar was, het Prof Pièrre Theron die voorsitter van die Direksie meestal gepraat. Die AB is nou besig om hulself the posisioneer as 'n oop organisasie, wat die belange van alle Afrikaansprekendes bevorder (ongeag kleur or geslag) Dit was egter interesant hoe negatief die (meestal wit) inbellers reageer op die prof en die nuwe AB. Baie het verwys na die 'Broederbond' se rol in die verlede, maar ook die feit dat, soos een inbeller dit stel, hulle ten diepste 'n jakkals in skaapsklere is- bedoelende dat die etos en gerigtheid van die verlede (in BroederBond klere) dieselfde is. Of dit wel so is, is moeilik aan te toon in terme van spesifieke gevalle, terwyl die klandestine en blatant rassistiese tendense (ten minste in die onderhoud) baie versag is-die broeders laat ook nou susters toe. Die AB beskou voorts hulself as 'n organisasie met bronne wat vir die hele Afrikaanse gemeenskap beskikbaar moet wees. Wat egter gemis word in die betoog van die professor, is die fundamentele kwessie van restitusie (of te wel regstellende aksie, in 'n breer sin). Die bronne waarop hy aanspraak maak, is bekom in terme van die logika van die apartheid/ koloniale sisteem, waarvolgens die bronne van die land, sistematies geplaas is in die hande van die witmense (toegegee, nie net Afrikaners nie). Dit is ten diepste wat ten grondslag lê van die Afrikaner Bond se magsposisie, vandag en wat hulle dan in die posisie stel om vir Bruinmense, vanuit hul kantore en die mediatoegang te nooi om by hulle te kom aanklop vir 'toelating' en 'hulp'. In die opsig het die AB nie geskuif nie en is hulle nogsteeds knus toegewikkel in hul ekonomiese mag. Die gesprek moet eerder plaasvind vanuit die vertrekpunt dat Afrikaanses... deel is van die breëre Suider Afrikaanse dinamiek, wat gekrenk is deur kolonialisme en van waaruit heling en restitusie moet plaasvind... dit is 'n gesonde basis vir 'n breere afrikaanse 'ons'.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Deon Maas waag ook 'n opinie oor bruin mense

Dit is vir my een van die mees fasinerende dimensies van witmense, dat hulle van altyd af 'kenners' was van bruinmense. Die oubaas sou altyd trots noem, 'Nee wat ek ken my mense' of die sendeling-dominee. Die nuuste 'kenner' (en daarom groot vriend van bruin mense) is Deon Maas, wat in sy artikel in die Rapport (Sondag, 11 Nov 2007. p16), geroepe voel om die mantel van 'bevryder van die verwarde bruin mense' op sy skouers te neem. Ek wonder soms of the rede hiervoor nie te vinde is in die argument van Heese in die 80s, dat witmense, veral die Afrikaners (Dis nou Maas-hulle- of hy dit wil erken of nie), in 'n sekere sin, ( ten minste geneties) deel is van hierdie groter 'groep sonder grense'. Die beheptheid van die Afrikaners met 'n aparte identiteit en fisiese skeiding in die vorming van die Afrikaner-dom, is dus goed moontlik te verklaar in die lig van hierdie teorie. Ek is egter lugtig vir essensialistiese gronde vir die definiering van rasidentiteite. Daar is uiteraard ook goeie steun vir die argument dat apartheid bloot 'n vorm van interne kolonialisme is en dat die konstruksie van rasidentiteite, die bestendiging van die kolonialiste se ekonomiese belange gedien het (God in South Africa, A Nolan 1988:70-75). Ras-identiteite word dus sosiaal geskep, genetiese teoriee en geskiedenis, taals religie, ens word ge/misbruik en dan (sodra ons die ideologie glo) begin ons daarin leef- dit word vir ons 'normaal' en deur ons 'normaal-heid' lees ons dan ander, tipeer ons die ander, skep en (mis)vorm ons ander. Dit is wat Maas dan doen. Alhoewel Maas gewoonlik luidrugtig roem op sy vrye denke, en so sy 'bevryding' van Afrikaner-wees, bly hy tog maar bloot 'n kind van sy tyd-'n boerseun. Om egter voor te gee dat jy self los staan en nie vanuit jou ideologiese bril na die 'ander' kyk nie, kleinbaas, is naief of bloot oneerlik en misluidend. Wat jou artikel dus doen, is bloot om ons te help om jou te verstaan in terme van waar jy vandaan kom, van wie hy (nodsteeds) is en wil wees- 'n witmens, gemaklik in sy magtige witheid, wat (weereens) dink hy ken bruinmense en ... op grond daarvan mag praat namens Bruinmense. Jou argumente en pogings tot koherenesie is irrelevant, selfs al sleep jy jou vriendskap met bruin mense en jou stereoptipes in. Terloops dit is so pateties om uit wanhoop jouself te verdedig met die openbaring dat jy 'ook bruin vriende het'.. maar dit net terloops.
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

Nog altyd hier gewees-H Giliomee

Herman Giliomee se boek, oor die die rol en plek van die bruin gemeenskap in Stellenbosch, het ek met groot genot gelees. Ja, hoe kan hy as a wit man, skryf oor ons bruin mense, sou baie kon vra. Ek sal maar eerder wil laat iemand met meer gesag praat. Luister wat sê Prof Allan Boesak hier in Die Vrye Afrikaan en maak jou eie mind op.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bruinmense must come home !

Prof Danny Titus is at it again, last night on KYKnet. He calls for an affirmation of coloured-ness. 'Bruinmense' need to feel comfortable in their 'bruin velle' and start to come home whether their are in hiding under whiteness as defined by the stroke of a pen in the Population Registration Act or whether under the surname of Ndlovu or Khumalo. It is time, prof Titus concluded for coloured people to reconnect with their families, who have brutally been torn apart, back on the dark old days... its time to come home.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Colouredness ?

I often hear the statement from, well I don't know what to call them, let's say light-blacks, speaking Afrikaans as their ma-se taal and some English as their status language stating that they are black or now South African, not coloured or bruin. They are often highly offended at conversations and debates on the Coloured, bushy, bruin-issues. For them, it does not exist. Coloured-ness is part and parcel of the apartheid social engineering ( a evil social construction) and as such was denounced in the heyday of black consciousness and later the Charterist circles- because after all: South Africa belongs to those who live in it. Colouredness is as a relic of colonialism has to be discarded, but also within the context of nation-building we need to build a national South Africam identity. This is fair and indeed up to this point I would concur that this type of argumentation makes sense. What it however miss is ( for me at least) two critical points, namely:
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

On being coloured

Recently in a few letters and articles the issue of coloured identity are discussed. There seem to be the argument on the one hand that coloured-ness or bruin identity is simply a matter of going back to some primordial ethnic, genetic race. The debate on our African-ness also tries to root it in the notion that we were here since whenever (at least before everyone else). So now the question is what are we suppose to be called: Khoisan or Khoesan, or Out... or Bushmen... and so on and so on....
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

Russel Botman oor Afrikaans

Prof Russel Botman praat oor Afrikaans. Ek kry dit op litnet en lees dit hier

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wanneer.......deur Anthony Phillip Williams .... Johannesburg

Wanneer?

Wanneer sal ons son dan skyn?

Wanneer sal ons pyn dan kwyn?

Wanneer sal ons geld verskyn?

Wanneer sal ons kind kan speel?

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 Soweto my roep?

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 kan wees?

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 kan 'Trust'?

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 .... Johannesburg

Coloureds and Afrikaners alike need to join the cultural evolution-Fred Khumalo

Fred Khumalo, in yesterday's Sunday Times felt the need to say something about 'Coloured' culture and Afrikaner culture-trying to bring these loose children to the fold -so to speak. Its always interesting how we allways want to define other people's culture. 'Hulle maak so en so...' Dis mos hulle culture...' Well, I'll let you be the judge. Here's the link to his article-Coloureds and Afrikaners

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ek is .... Llewellyn LM MacMaster

Ek is...

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
Suid-Afrikaner, Afrikaan,
Deel van hierdie land, hierdie kontinent,

Was nog altyd hier -
Al sê wie ook wat!

Ek is
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.

Ek is
Outentiek, genuine
Proudly South African
No strings attached
What you see is what you get
No pretence, no disguise

Ek is
Moeg van politieke speelbal wees

Ek is
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
Te marginaliseer
Te generaliseer
Te reduseer
Dit maak diep seer

Ek is
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!

Begeleidende brief
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.

Enkele opmerkings:
* 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
BELLVILLE

Te veel wittes en bruines in die WKOD

Volgens 'n berig in Die Burger, meen die WKOD hulle het te veel wit en bruin senior personeel in skole.
Stem u saam ? Lees die artikel hier.
Reggie

Sunday, February 18, 2007

DEBATING COLOURED IDENTITY IN THE WESTERN CAPE

I remember recieving this from Llewelyn MacMaster. Thanks Mac

Cheryl Hendricks
Head of the Southern African Human Security Programme at the Institute for Security Studies,
Pretoria.


Published in African Security Review Vol 14 No 4, 2005

The nature and form of coloured identity in the Western Cape 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 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 Western Cape. 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 ANC.
But it was an editorial on an obscure website hosted by Blackman Ngoro, the political advisor of the mayor of Cape Town, 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.
It is evident then that racialised tensions in the Western Cape 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?
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 South Africa, and does not adequately address the issues that generate conflict in the 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 South Africa. 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 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 Western Cape. Coloureds form a majority in the province. Apartheid’s divide and rule tactics posited the Western Cape as a preferential area for coloured labour. This preferential policy was abolished in 1986. Since the 1980s there has been an exponential growth in the number of blacks in the province. It is currently estimated that 48,000 people, predominantly from the Eastern Cape, enter the Western Cape each year. This has placed tremendous pressure on resources and increased competition for those resources. This is most evident in the areas of employment and housing. The Western Cape has an unemployment rate of 26 per cent and a backlog of housing in the range of 360,000 units.

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 Cape Town vote for the New National Party or the Democratic Alliance in what can be interpreted as an anti-ANC vote.

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 Western Cape a ‘home for all’.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Houtbay forced removals (again !) on the cards ?

DA councillor, Marga Hayword. is suggesting forced removals of black and coloured communitities from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg. This article is in the latest Mail&Guardian.
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

STILL MARGINAL: Crime in the coloured community

STILL MARGINAL

Crime in the coloured community

Ted Leggett, Institute for Security Studies


Published in Crime Quarterly No 7 2004

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 idleness

As 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.

Claustrophobia

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.

Gangsterism

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.

Substance abuse

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.

Endnotes

  1. 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%).
  2. 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.



  3. 2002/3 Annual Report, South African Police Service, Pretoria, 2003.

  4. 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.

  5. Strict definition, aged 15-65, Census 2001.

  6. M Schonteich, Terrorism in the new South Africa: What threat does it pose?, Paper presented to Griffiths and Associates, 14 February 2003.

  7. Census 2001.

  8. Northern Cape has highest matric pass rate, SAPA news release, 30 December 2003; Fast Facts, South African Institute for Race Relations, Johannesburg, February 1999.

  9. Census 2001.

  10. Ibid.

  11. 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.

  12. Census 2001.

  13. L Ellis and A Walsh, Criminology: A global perspective, Needham Heights, Allyn and Bacon, 2000, p 147–148.

  14. 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.

  15. Ibid.

  16. MRC, 2002, op cit.

  17. T Leggett (ed), Drugs and crime in South Africa: A study in three cities, ISS Monograph No 69, Pretoria, Institute for Security Studies, 2002.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Max du Preez oor de la Rey

Die song van Bok van Blerk maak groot opslae- verkoop by die hordes en vir baie 'kenners' druk dit uit 'n soeke onder die 'Afrikaners' na 'n leier. My vraag saam met Max is bloot: lê die hoop van wit Afrikaansprekende Africans in 'n teruggryp na die slegte ou dae, met leiers wat nie in ander mense, mede mense kon ontdek nie? Sommige sê: die ouens was dapper ( soos die Boeremag lede of die Waterkloof-4 of Steven Hofmeyer) Ek lees die artikels en die berigte in die Beeld en verstik in die negatiwiteit- die nuwe (swart) SA is sleg en korrup en die expats is dapper slagoffers van 'n diskriminerende bestel. Nou wat het dit met Bruindevelopment te doen ? Eenvoudig dit: Ons self as bruinmense hardloop baie keer op dieselfde bane en loop die gevaar om onsself ook maar op hierdie wyse in die hoek te skryf en verf. Wat eerder nodig is om te erken dat daar is lyne wat hardloop oor rasgrense, bv wanneer dit kom by taal. Daar 'n ook nuwe kreatiewe identiteite wat opkom... ons is gewortel in Afrika- ons is Africans en trots daarop, ons kan dapper stry teen geweld, onderdrukking en onreg. Dit is vir my op hierdie spore dat 'n mens begin identifiseer met leiers. Een van hulle, vir my is figure soos die ontslape, Oliver Reginald (OR) en 'mam' Adelaide Tambo- dapper mense helde

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Zelda Jongbloed supports Oprah's school

In a very interesting article Zelda Jongbloed, come up for Oprah's 'elite' school, which are being attacked for supposedly only allowing only black girls at the school, in Die Burger (DB). (Back in the days we called the Burger, die Buiger). I also had the impression that we only see black girls, till I saw a few photos, where I noticed white, Indian and Bruin girls. The question is however, should we be so colour conscious ? Is this not precisely indicative of our inherent racialised genetic programming or simply testimony of how well apartheid did its job. Shouldn't we just see young needy, but also deserving girls, irrespective of colour ?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Danny Titus oor opvolgstryd in ANC

Prof Danny Titus writes an indepth commentary on the ANC's internal leaderhip battle in today's Beeld. Follow the link here and read it ! Good stuff !

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Conversation with extra-ordinary stalward of the struggle

Today, I had a rather ordinary conversation with an over 70 years old, stalward of the struggle. He fought alongside many of today's figureheads in government and business- the big shots. What amazed (ashamed) me, however was the commitment he still had to make a change in his community, the coloured community, without any financial rewards. He was still passsionate, concerned, enraged at the levels of crime, drug abuse and poverty that are still (tragically) endemic of our communities, but deeper still he aludes to the cancerous material greed that seems to eat away the gains of the struggle for justice and equality. In the quest for socio-economic justice, it seems to me, as I was reflecting afterwards, as if we need something more than mere crude western capitalist notions of development.... it seems as if the notions of justice, equality, prosperity, and community is somehow joined and linked together. Somewhere here lies the secret for the long term development of coloured people. What made this conversation hence extra-ordinary is the realisation that this powerfull and David Korten-(Fifth Discipline-type) insight is raised by a uncle in our own coloured community, a uncle, by his own account not well-educated, but one that found the secret to struggling proudly alongside, white, black, yellow, rich and poor for dignity and human worth... amazing !

Friday, January 5, 2007

BDF enters the discourse

The broad discourse on identity, development and justice raises many issues that not only concern bruin people, but also has to be conducted in a spirit and fashion that opens up space for many and varied voices. Many times the bruin voice has been muzzled-for various reasons. Zimitri Erasmus (2001) contends that the power-blind, multi-cultural readings of coloured identities or the emergent discourse of African essentialism or the denial or patholization of colouredness or even the retreat into the ethno-nationalism of the Kleurling Weerstandsbeweging are in fact not conducive to articulations of coloured identity in progressive ways. What is needed is to move beyond these limitations, contest these frames of reference and re-imagine new identities to create space that 'allows coloured identities to be part of the liberatory policial practice'. She states, ' It is only from such a place that we can begin building new relationships with fellow South Africans and finding ways in which to contribute to processes of democratization and anti-racism in SA.'(:21) It is our hope that this forum could provide that space.... for new images.

Eksê.............