Why are Coloureds Associated with Swearing: Part 1

Shana Fife

Coloured people swear differently. Well, in your head we do, anyway.

Now, most swear words are universal. They are the ‘rudest of the rudest words’ one can use and even though the words I am going to talk about are ‘Afrikaans’, a language spoken by a mixture of races, the words ‘p**s’ and ‘n**i’ have been subconsciously allocated to the Coloured folk.

I want to delve into why I think this is.

The image that is depicted of Coloureds everywhere is that we are the ‘the rudest’, ‘the scariest’, ‘the most dangerous’.

We are gangsters. We are the perpetuators of the ‘nommer gang’. So naturally, all of us are killers, drug addicts and ‘sayers of bad things’.

However, let me tell you, that because I have grown up as a privileged child of the flats, from parents who wanted me to see the world (other southern suburbs), all my friends from other races use these words.

They use them excessively and I sometimes (most times) cringe because they use them out of context.

But, more acceptably, right?

I am not saying we, the Cape Coloureds, haven’t openly accepted these words as our own, (even though my more colonized brasse would never openly admit this, in case their university friends overhear). But why when we use it, is it seen as more aggressive than when used by someone of a different skin colour?

Think about it.

My issue right now isn’t whether or not swearing is right or wrong. We will never reach a consensus on that. Some believe that smarter people aren’t as offended by swearwords. Others believe that cursing isn’t ladylike. This isn’t the issue I am addressing.

My issue that I am discussing in this little ‘rant’ is that, I believe South Africans aren’t necessarily offended by these swearwords. I think that they are merely offended when they come out of the mouths of my people.

(End of Part 1. To be continued).

*Republished with permission of the author and edited to comply with the CK format.

About the Author: Shana Fife is a blogger who has, for the past two years, stimulated debate and courted controversy. You can read up more on her thoughts by visiting her FB page, ‘Just A Hoe / Into a Housewife’.