An Open Letter to the Khoisan Activists from a Coloured

Dwayne Rockman

Dwayne Rockman writes an open letter to the group of Khoi and San activists who handed over a memorandum in a bid to lobby for the removal of the term ‘Coloured’ from the statutes of South Africa:

I acknowledge your plight of having YOUR heritage restored as Khoi and San people of South Africa, however your attempt to remove the term ‘Coloured’, uproots deep concern within me.

I am a Coloured, born and bred in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth. I am a Coloured not by race but by identity and culture. Please take kindly to this; I am aware of the ignominious usage of “Coloured” during the apartheid era. The generation before me suffered tremendously. In this day and age nonetheless, I’ve rarely come across being called a Coloured as offensive and demeaning.

Just like everything else in this world, I am of the opinion that the term Coloured has evolved. The term is being used in my generation with pride, and I invite you to investigate this claim further instead of just relying on your one million signed petitions consenting your motion. (A petition, I nor anyone I have come across in my circles of Coloured brethren, have even heard of I might add).

I am proud to be Coloured. I am proud to be identified as Coloured. I am not ignorant. I am aware.

Allow me now to dig deeper into the genealogy side of my concern. In my family tree, (the exact figure not known) there is probably a sixteenth or less of either Khoi or San ancestory found there. My family is made up of a cocktail of different racial backgrounds. This is the reason I want to be called Coloured. I cannot be called Khoi or San. With your lobbying to remove Coloured from South African statutes, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BE CALLED?

You cannot say you will respect my wishes to be called a Coloured yet still proceed to eradicate the term.

The apartheid regime robbed you of your humanity and pride and I am so sorry for that. I pray your wounds heal in your lifetime. I ask you though in closing, please don’t do to me what they have done to you? Don’t rob me from my identity. Don’t make it more difficult for me when it’s already an uphill battle when I get told “dress up as your heritage” for Heritage Day at work.

Let me be Coloured. I am happy being Coloured. I am not Khoi or San, nor Indian, French, Malay, German, Dutch or whatever else my gene pool constitutes of. I am South African, a Coloured South African.

My recommendation: retract your memorandum and amend it accordingly. Fight for YOUR race to be added to Home Affairs application forms. I will support your cause.

Is lekker om Kullid te wees

Warm Regards
Dwayne Rockman (Coloured)

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