Identity persists

Regardless of who is in charge, as the mixed-race population of South Africa have discovered.

“It is all about the blacks. The ‘Rainbow Nation’ is a big lie!” complained Dalene Raiters, a South African mother from the “Coloured” community.

“We are not black enough,” added her sister who has also been unemployed for years. “We are not part of this country. We were marginalised during the apartheid and even now,” lamented Dalene, getting into her stride about the discrimination of which she insists she is a victim.

“Our people live like mushrooms. Four generations under the same roof,” said Elizabeth Raiters, seated in the living room of the family home in the majority “Coloured” township of Eldorado Park, an outlying suburb of Johannesburg.

In total, nine people — soon to be 10 with a baby due — live in the property, which has a small bedroom and a hut in the yard.

Elizabeth applied for social housing to ease the squeeze — but that was 17 years ago, and failed. She is convinced it is because of the colour of her skin.

Apartheid legally divided South Africans into groups of whites, blacks, Indians and “Coloured,” a term meaning people deemed to be of mixed race.

The remnants of system were swept away a quarter-century ago, and today the notion of race remains as discredited as is segregation. Yet the term “Coloured” is still widely used today — and complaints of exclusion are common.

This description of the fate of mixed-race people in post-apartheid South Africa should be informative for all the “what about meeeeee” readers who want to know how things are likely to go for their various mixed-race friends and family members in a post-USA scenario.

When identity and law conflict, identity reliably wins in the end.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *