part two: 169 ways to know if you’re coloured

  1. You have at least five different nationalities making up your exotic looks.
  2. Being born with blonde hair, light eyes and fair skin gave you instant celebrity status in your street. And you’re not Swedish.
  3. You have broad nostrils, a flat nose and rather large lips and butt, rendering the previous statement a moot point.
  4. You’re drilling, weed-whacking, lawn-mowing, chainsawing and angle-grinding before 7am or after 8pm any given day of the week.
  5. Dressing/acting common or choosing common friends would bring on a screaming showdown with your mother eg “be coloured but don’t be COMMON”.
  6. Your childhood friends and family have names like Quinton, Compton, Ramona, Lavona, Denver, Carmelita or Genevieve.
  7. You played kennechie in the street as a child.
  8. Every family game of dominoes, klawwejas or kerrem usually ends in a tiff.
  9. Your father did the ironing shirtless on a Sunday and took a doppie, which ensured that Sunday night was sometimes fight night
  10. You played with Sindy dolls as a child, not Barbie.
  11. Bringing home a white date brings much excitement and swishing curtains in neighbour’s windows.
  12. You bought your Mother’s/Father’s Day gifts from the babbie down the road.
  13. You bought your mother Vinolia soap for Mother’s Day and your brothers Pez sweets for Christmas.
  14. You used to cut your own fringe and your brothers called it a verandah.
  15. Your hairstyle is supported by about 40 hair grips, 2l of gel, plus an alice band.
  16. You wear your hair in a bolla not a bun.
  17. Germans seem to like you. A lot.
  18. You sprinkle your sentences with ma and mos eg “Denver, can you ma take this to Tietie Gairu, man? You mos her favourite!”
  19. You’re a girl, and your mother shouted at you to “STOP CRAWLING ON THE FLOOR OR YOU’LL MAKE YOUR KNEES BLACK!”
  20. You have black knees.
  21. You rubbed used lemon halves on your elbows to make them white.
  22. Your Spanish-German-English-Dutch-Javanese heritage, coupled with well-spoken English, could cause aneurisms in strangers as they try to work out exactly where you’re from and ‘what’ you are.
  23. People say you ‘put on’ but you’re only well-spoken because that’s how your parents speak and you had a private school education to avoid the riots in the ’70s.
  24. Your parents had a radio-gramme and they played LPs from Trini Lopez, Deodato, Stanley Black, Shirley Bassey, Santana and Tom Jones.
  25. Your dad cries to songs.
  26. Instead of going to church, your dad played church radio on a Sunday and he and your mother sang along to the hymns.
  27. The more you drink, the more you cry. And drunk dial in the wee hours.
  28. You relocated to Canada and Australia and picked up an overseas accent quicker than a lady of the night in Greenpoint.
  29. You favour phrases like holly har, loep skyt, jay vat my laag and ghoms.
  30. You lived in District Six waaaaaaaay before the hipsters took over.
  31. The motjie down the road sends you delicious curry and basmati rice every Christmas.
  32. You know the difference between koesiestas and koeksisters.
  33. Your mother knows how to make daltjies and bollas.
  34. You played elastics, Red Rover, Oranges and Lemons and ‘Under the bamboo bushes’ at school.
  35. Your family had a horse called Majestic, a lamb called Bambi, an Alsatian called Shane, a black Doberman called Skollie and bantam hens in the backyard.
  36. You’ve had watermelon-spitting contests in your backyard.
  37. You helped your mother make konfyt by pricking the watermelon skins all over with a fork. It was hard work.
  38. You’re under five but you’re still out after 10pm, screaming loudly in the street and eating sweets.
  39. The whole family, including aunts and uncles, would meet at a river two hours away from home, where your dad would swim around with you on his back like a dolphin – until the day you got bilharzia and peed blood.
  40. You went to the Goodwood drive-in every Friday where your brothers and you would fight over who got to lie in the back window of your orange Passat and you forced your dad to hoot if the movie didn’t start on time.
  41. Your mother makes pickled fish with ‘proper’ spices and fresh snoek – hake doesn’t count!
  42. You love your mother’s sago pudding, made with stick cinnamon, a golden crust and eaten with apricot jam.
  43. You think a dinner party that doesn’t include crayfish tails and mayonnaise in a lettuce leaf as a starter is NOT a party.
  44. If you don’t leave your mother’s table after having eaten enough to feed a family of four YOU ARE NOT A TRUE COLOURED.
  45. If you’ve never given your father 12 year old Chivas Regal in a velvet pouch YOU ARE NOT A TRUE COLOURED.
  46. If at least one of your biological parents is not coloured or black YOU ARE NOT A TRUE COLOURED.
  47. If you’ve never seen an older family member slurp Five Roses tea from a saucer YOU ARE NOT A TRUE COLOURED.
  48. You grooved at the Galaxy in the ’80s.
  49. You live in ‘Hayrreveld’, ‘Bissops’ (the Lavis, not the Court), Ottery, Blue Downs, Mitchell’s Plain and Elsies, among others.
  50. When you say fanny, you don’t mean bum.

(last instalment on Wednesday)