A new book that will be made available at every public school in the Western Cape, attempts to retell the story of South Africa’s origins through the eyes of Coloured people.
At Heathfield High School, former pupil and now author, Dr Ruben Richards, handed over 400 copies of his book Bastaards or Humans – The Unspoken Heritage of Coloured People.
The book attempts to explain why and how the once proud indigenous owners of the land and its resources were relegated to the margins of history.
The book is described as a brave endeavour in a country that only knows racism and the bastardisation of Coloured identity and its indigenous Khoisan heritage.
Dr Richards says that Coloured people have an identity that has never been adequately appreciated, nor understood, even by themselves. This is in part due to the brokenness of our past, especially regarding the violence that Coloured people have had to endure as slaves.
“We need to fix generations of trauma, turmoil and pain that still bedevil us. A first step in that direction is acknowledging the problem. Then we must change the future,” says Dr Richards.
Writing on coloured identity, he urges that we have to talk about these matters in ways that are constructive, empowering, honest, wholesome and less maddening. Central to these talks, he believes, must be a proper acknowledgement of Coloured people’s direct link to a Khoi past, a link long overlooked or suppressed.
Says Dr Richards, “If we don’t revisit the manner in which we interpret the impact of history on our identity, we will stand accused of being fools who repeat history. With this work, I invite you to make history rather than repeat it.”
Note: Dr Richards was the Deputy Director-General of the Scorpions, where he was instrumental in setting up the elite crime fighting unit. He was also the CEO of Globe Engineering Works and the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the Chairperson of Global Spec and Nompilo Investment Holdings. He also held Directorship positions at Africa Cellular Towers, Spatial Technologies, Svitzer-Mendi and Law Enforcement International, and he was an Adjunct Professor at Wits University. He is currently the Chairperson of the Ruben Richards Foundation, an organisation which he founded to help communities overcome gangsterism and organised crime.