I have written several articles about how we claim our racial markers, despite how much they are rooted in our oppression. Yet I have discovered that the fluidity in relation to Coloured people and their identities, is of great magnitude.
My grandmother states that she is Coloured while my grandfather stated that he was Khoisan. Eusebius McKaiser states that he identifies as culturally Coloured and politically Black. Iman Rappetti identifies as Biko-Black.
The above is indicative that there is a disjuncture between Coloured people and that all presumed Coloured people do not wish to identify as Coloured. This is something that we need to be cognizant of.
I asked my parents how they identify themselves as racially. My father said, “I am Coloured” and my mother said, “I am also Coloured.” I then asked about the contestation relating to the Coloured identity and the politics of naming and how there has been a movement to have the Coloured identity marker removed. If this occurs then it means that all people who currently identify as Coloured, would have to identify as Khoisan. My mother stated that, “Coloured people originate from the Khoi but because both of my parents identify as Coloured, I am Coloured.” My father on the other hand, had a different, more difficult story to grasp. My father looked at me and said, “You know what? The Apartheid regime really affected everyone. I was born in the Eastern Cape; I grew up in the Transkei. But the Apartheid government put ‘Cape Coloured’ on my birth certificate. That is what they said I was; that is what I was forced to become, despite never having been in the Western Cape by the time my birth certificate was issued.”
This speaks to the notion of performativity and how people became the races they were ascribed to. This brought great confusion into my identity as my father was labelled as a Cape Coloured and my mother as Coloured, what did that make me? Who was I? Who am I? Who do I want to be? What has the system told me I am? Coloured…