The colours that go into being colour blind

Allow me to play the race card for a minute. It is, after all, the national pastime.

It was recently brought to my attention that while coloured people currently make up five percent of the South African population, one day they will predominate. We will be a nation of coloured people.

At some distant point in the idyllic future, there will have been so much racial miscegenation that most South Africans will be neither black, nor white, but brown – the colour of coloured people.

This is a superficial evaluation, though. Because we all know that there’s more to being a coloured person than the colour of your skin. A coloured person can be the colour of me, the whitest of white guys, or dark brown like one of our Xhosa brothers and sisters. Ironically, being “Coloured” is not about colour. It’s about culture.

So if I, as a white person, marry a gorgeous black woman, as I once did at a golf course near Humansdorp, and we have children, they will not be Coloured.

True, they’re likely to be a pleasant, yellowy-brown colour, they will be of mixed race and they would probably have been forced to live in Schauderville if this was 1981. But they are unlikely to join a Cape Carnival troupe or to be any good at baking bobotie, nor is their Afrikaans likely to be that good.

They will be the product of a European and a Xhosa culture. Their speaking accent will be the product of the school they attend, but I’m imagining some kind of a Model C vibe.

They may inherit a love for R&B music from their mother and an aptitude for braaivleis from their dad. Will they combine these two hobbies and one day have a braai in the parking lot outside Golden Fountain in Salsonevile?

I don’t see a reason why not. I once did.

They make speak isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans, support the Springboks, Bafana and the Proteas; and they’ll probably be familiar with the plot of Isidingo at any given time.

They’ll enjoy spicy chicken, and say “now-now” a lot. They’ll lock their car doors at the robots, but otherwise they’ll be pretty easygoing.

Beyond that, though, I can’t make any predictions about what they’ll be like. And that’s the beauty of it. The next generation of children will be a work in progress.

They will not be defined by how a bunch of lunatics may have classified them in 1948. They’ll be South African. A little bit English, a little bit Xhosa and a little bit Afrikaans. A bit black, a bit white and a bit coloured.

So if all our children are going to be like that one day, then if you think about it, we’re all like that already. We just need each other to put the pieces together.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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