Living as a coloured, is it not ironic?

Living as a coloured, is it not ironic?

by Cornel Rayners
December 2003/January 2004

‘History teaches nothing’ – Gordon Sumner

In general, the conception of a colored man is based on numerous and inadequate generalizations stemming from English hypocrisy and slave trade; and eventually institutionalized in 1948 with the Apartheid, ‘Separate but equal’ philosophy by the National Party. National Party brutality and immorality wrought havoc to the non-European communities which was evident in their displacement and violation of political rights, privileges and basic human rights; essentially non-whites where reduced to no more than slaves in their own country of birth.

So, what does it mean to live as a coloured in South Africa? It meant to be subjected to the bitter taste of Afrikaner racism. It meant to live in a society maintained by hypocrisy in a state of identity psychosis. It means an exposure to a social bigotry, a social insecurity underpinned by ignorance, fear and vulnerability. Out of this, certain perceptions and stereotypes, called Colored Commandments, emerged that is still evident today. This Colored Commandments evolved over time and maintained by the oppressive government determined the development of social structures and interactions between people defined as,

The Commandments

  • I believe that I am the best in the street where I live. Anyone who lives in a bigger house, drives a better car or whose kids attends a more expensive school is liable to receive some unfair treatment, harassment or verbal slurs from me. I believe that I am better than anyone else, and the minute that I see another coloured excel, I will suppress, oppress and undermine their achievements. Even my own children.

    I believe that when I am in need, then the neighbor is obliged to give me whatever I need (like sugar, rice or even a few rands), otherwise that neighbor is not fit to be regarded as a friend or acquaintance

  • I believe that I am compelled to obtain new possessions as determined by the rate at which my neighbors or work colleagues acquire new possessions. I am entitled to have the loudest musical system, the biggest satellite dish and the most expensive clothes on the market (all clothes should be designer-labeled). Should I not be able to afford this, I am entitled to sink my heavy ass into debts that I know I will not be able to pay.
  • I believe that I have the right to afford my children education on the basis that I can boast about their achievements like it was my own. I retain the right to assess scholastic progress better than the drunken teacher. Education has not worked for me; so it will work for them as long their education do not surpass mine, as I made them. My children will work for me once they have completed their studies. My children are not to think for themselves.
  • I believe that I may call black people ‘kaffirs’; white people ‘whities’; asians ‘coolies’ and other coloureds ‘hotnot’ or ‘gam’. In addition, I believe that I am better than anybody is and nobody may address me as any of the above because it is politically incorrect to label me as such. Such labeling is a direct violation of my basic human rights but not yours.
  • I believe that all white and black people are racist. I believe that I am racially tolerant by not allowing my children to play with black children because black people slaughter animals in their yards and believe in the tokolosh. I reserve the right to protect my children against the onslaughts of the white man’s way of living, allowing their offspring economic freedom. I believe, in addition, that my child should never be independent of me otherwise I have not been a good parent.
  • I believe that I am not African. I am born on the South African continent. My narrow-mindedness is more than a vice and it does indeed surpass my intellect, don’t you forget that.
  • I believe that my social constitution and laws are governed by what people think of me. The perception of what other people will say determines what I believe.
  • I believe that the government owes me a house and an education due to the inequities of the past. Why should I work for what I want, as my drinking time will be cut in half and besides, the government owes me.
  • I believe that all other religions are an abomination of my religion and belief in God. May they have a happy journey to hell, God bless them. My authority should not be questioned because I have the Church by my side. At least I am saved.
  • I believe that once I get elected to office or any committee, as it is due to me, I will turn my back on those idiots that elected me for that position. As long as I earn a good salary, I will not do anything to uplift my community, I don’t owe them anything.
  • Breaching any of the commandments will afford you extra-special names like ‘coconut’, ‘traitor’ or even ‘gatkruiper’. A first offence, in most cases, will be forgiven. After that, any act shall be scrutinized and deemed suspicious. You are warned.
  • The truth or validity of the colored commandments depends on you. Let us change the way we look at lives and ourselves. Although there are plenty of talented people in colored communities, advancement are hampered by in-fighting, bigotry and blind recourse in the colored commandments. Frankly I do not belief or adhere to The Colored Commandments, as it is nothing but perceptions and stereotypes born out of a people that were not allowed to develop their own identity. It was stunted. Now is the time for change.

    Attempting to transcend the shackles, chains and burdens of separation mentality, repressive racial thought prevalent in South Africa and the world, the concept of bruin-ou fosters values of uniformity between people that finds discourse and dissent against any form of exclusion. An ethos never to racially exclude and discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, philosophy and heritage – promoting the human race. People of pure mix-blood can serve to appease and act as facilitators against the growing uneasiness between traditional ethnic groupings. The ideals of Bruin-ou are compounded by,

    1. Colored people are black and white rolled into one.

    2. Bruin-ou, a product of multiple inter-racial heritages, aims to address any issue of ignorance with regards to people in a social and political context.

    3. The identification and promotion of a bruin-ou identity and culture. It is not necessary to have mix-blood pumping in your veins to be part of bruin-ou culture, but a soul that bleeds to the tune of the human race.

    4. Being of mix-blood is not a guarantee to be part of a bruin-ou community, as being a bruin-ou is a way of living in peace with a heterogeneous brother.

    5. In the creation of a bruin-ou Voice of their own that networks and connects, locally and internationally, a people united by means of a forum that promotes a dialogue and discourse on social issues for all.

    6. The promotion of a naissance, the birth of a new way of looking at life, truly accepting everything as part of a bigger whole. Finally embracing the history as a teacher instead of history teaching nothing, circumventing the abuse and misuse of knowledge (power).

    7. The promotion of any form of intolerance is not allowed. An idea of intolerance is bred in vacuum of ignorance. Our objective here is of acceptance, living together as one.

    8. I am a part of you, as you are a part of me.

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of South Africa (to the human race), to the interesting people, places and idiosyncrasies for which it stands, one nation under several religions, languages and cultures, yet indivisible with freedom, basic needs and progress for all. (Courtesy Guy Lundy).

    Copyright © 2003 Cornel Rayners. All rights reserved.

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