News / Opinion / Columns

Virginia Keppler
4 minute read
26 Jul 2017
10:09 am

I am coloured, but I am not a rape-child

Virginia Keppler

What I question and what I am sick and tired of is when non-coloured people have the audacity to talk down to coloured people.

Virginia Keppler. Picture: Jacques Nelles

I had never questioned my coloured identity, my culture or my language. What I questioned is the effect that apartheid had on us as South Africans, and especially coloured people.

Like the impact the Group Areas Act had on my family that deprived me of learning the ethnic language of my African grandparents and their ancestors.

What I question and what I am sick and tired of is when non-coloured people have the audacity to talk down to coloured people, like recently when some called us “children of rape”.

I am tired of this stupid argument by people who themselves are so full of hatred and disconnected from their own racial identity that they cannot just try to co-exist with other race groups in this diverse and beautiful country of ours.

I’m tired of idiotic, self-proclaimed racial experts who forget that apartheid was, not so long ago, our common enemy as nonwhite citizens of this country. I am tired of a government who proclaim we are all black, yet when we as coloured people want to claim the same privileges as our black counterparts we are told we do not qualify. We are told we do not speak a native language nor do we share a black culture.

I am tired of people trying to still divide us based on race, culture, creed of class instead of focusing on how to save our beloved Azania from the grip of this parasitic Gupta family and their corrupt cronies in their project of state capture and networks of patronage. And a president who sold our beloved country out for the sole purpose of self-enrichment.

And I am still asking why we as ordinary people want to fight each other based on race. All this while the country is literally burning on all fronts. This while our problems and dreams for this country are the same. Coloured, white, black and Indian South Africans all strive for the same things.

We all want South Africa to be successful, we want our economy to get out of this technical recession. We want to create jobs and bring an end to poverty and inequality. We as ordinary citizens all want to be successful, have a roof over our heads, a car – if we’re lucky enough to be able to afford one – and a good education for our children.

And, yes, some of us want those expensive diamond earrings or want to go on holiday abroad. One thing about us as coloured people is that we are survivors. Words will not break us. And, yes, we have to survive. Just look at the conditions we have to survive daily in townships like Eersterust, Eldorado Park and on the Cape Flats.

In our own way, we survived apartheid. And we will survive in this democratic South Africa and these senseless attacks on our minority race. Are we really that much of a threat to our fellow citizens that they call us “children of rape”, “bad seeds” or “children of the devil Van Riebeeck”? They call us “skelm like our rapist forefathers” and say we only want to identify with the Khoi because we heard there is land on the table.

Fact is, this land belongs to all of us. How did we offend others that the immediate problems like the traitor Jacob Zuma or state capture are being pushed aside in preference of attacking each other’s race groups? Why? Coloured people are also human beings.

They come in different colours, like a field of Namaqualand flowers. We are different shapes and sizes. We speak Afrikaans or Kaaprikaans or English and we are proud of it. We even speak fluent Pedi, Sotho, Xhosa or Zulu, depending on where we find ourselves in Mzansi.

I am a human being, perfectly made in the image of my God. I am a product of interracial marriages and my bloodline travels across oceans and the borders of our beautiful, dark continent. What I am not, is a product of a white man who raped my ancestors. Before 1994, when I was still a child, I would question my white in complexion mother as to why I was so dark in complexion, wishing my skin was a little lighter, like my mother, my sister and my late brother.

Today I know it was because apartheid made me believe that everything that was dark was bad.

In April 1994, when I was 21 years old, I was privileged to vote for the first time. I voted for freedom and freedom came. For the first time I was really happy to be in my dark skin like my father, his Pedi-mother and his African ancestors. All this while I knew that I was never white enough, nor was I black enough, so let me be coloured because that is enough for me.

So to all those coloured people-bashers out there, get off your damn high horse and start living your own racial identity. Because your words cannot hurt me.

I know my roots, my ancestors. I remain proudly coloured. Not a product of rape. I am at home. Right here in sunny South Africa. I am not going anywhere. So deal with it!