Tag Archives: District Six

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, Estelle, Lavinia, 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 (because your mother forced you to do it).
  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 grandparents 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 posh.
  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.

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

I’ve been told I’m “not coloured enough”. Nigerian please. I mean, check out my colours via Adobe Kuler.

Dominique shades copy

Disclaimer: This article is best read by those who understand Cape Coloured – ie South Africans. The subtleties will be TOTALLY lost in translation.

As extra evidence of my colourfulness here’s a ‘tseklist (checklist) for the naysayers and for those who always need to label things and people. If you tick 100 or more of these, you can safely assume you ARE coloured. And I mean Cape Coloured. None of that watered-down Jo’burg crap. We are a wonderful breed and a source of many inspirational quotes, wisdoms, giggles and mass blanching at family gatherings and public outings – and proudly so.

And just in case you want to bring out the race card or get offended – opinions are like the proverbial donkey, everyone has one – these musings come from some personal and some shared experiences but mostly my own memories. These opinions are (probably and definitely) not shared by my husband, child, family or friends. I have also spelt most words phonetically and not necessarily accurately, so get some dip for that chip en hou jou fokken in, because …

  1. You know how to give a good lammie.
  2. You’re missing two front teeth. On purpose.
  3. Your mother made you sit with rollers in your hair until your scalp bled. Then you had to put on a swirlkous.
  4. You’ve gone to the shop in rollers/doek/swirlkous.
  5. You seeing mist outside brings on a sense of anguish akin only to that felt by people in movies upon seeing zombies.
  6. You own at least 12 anti-frizz products and they either make your hair cake like icing or flake like snow.
  7. You have a highfalutin voice for the phone and a coloured voice for everything else.
  8. You use and know words like jislaaik, laaitie, naai man, kakmy bru, jou ma se poes, voetsek and tati. Sometimes even in the same sentence.
  9. You use the words kroeskop, boesman and kortkoppie as an insult towards your fellow man.
  10. Your brother uses phrases like “die lelik is niks, maar die STUPID …!
  11. You know what jits means.
  12. If there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet available, you’re not too shy to go back for seconds, thirds or even fourths.
  13. You’ve used or been at the receiving end of the phrase “keep you white“.
  14. You end every sentence with nih.
  15. You ate smoortjie every Saturday night as a child.
  16. You know that a great Gatsby is something with chips, tomato sauce, lots of magenta viennas and no Leonardo.
  17. Your mom made you fried French polony sandwiches in primary school.
  18. Every labarang-gatjie your Moslem neighbour would bring over ornately decorated biscuits with little silver balls and angelica on them. They were a joy.
  19. Your mother warned you not to be ougat and to sit with your knees together at all times.
  20. Your mother told you “nice girls don’t laugh uitgelaat“.
  21. You have one of these combos: light eyes + dark skin OR kroes hair + fair skin OR dead straight hair + dark skin.
  22. You went to church at least once a year as a child. At Christmas time. In shiny shoes and new clothes.
  23. At Christmas time your parents bought pan peanuts, mebos, chocolate covered Brazil nuts, peanut clusters and those jelly sweets shaped like citrus halves at Wellingtons Fruit Growers. But you couldn’t eat them – they were ‘for the guests’.
  24. Your dad used to take your mom flower-shopping on Adderley Street every Saturday evening and you’d stand in front of the air vents so that the warm air blew against your legs. And the flower ladies always gave you a flower because “my, but your derrie is SO beautiful!”.
  25. You say derrie not daddy.
  26. You used to shop for bridge rolls at Rosmead Superette on Saturday mornings and sneakily scoff the tiny warm rolls in the back of the car.
  27. You’re a Seventh Day Adventist.
  28. You’re a Jehovah’s Witness.
  29. You know what a happy clappy is.
  30. You are a happy clappy.
  31. As a child you liked Niknaks, Flings, Fizzers, sherbert, bunnylicks, Coo-ee and peanut butter and golden syrup sandwiches.
  32. You were the first child in your primary school to wear braces on your teeth, so the one boy called you “tanne manne josster‘. You still do not know what this means.
  33. You have a smoky rust bucket truck/van/bakkie/car/motorbike that you rev noisily in front of your/your neighbour’s house or in your yard, day and night.
  34. You hoot loudly when you arrive in your car and hoot when you leave.
  35. Your head barely reaches the dashboard (you like bucket seats).
  36. You drive with your arm straight out, holding the steering wheel with one hand.
  37. You have spoilers, fins and VIP-worthy black-tinted windows.
  38. When you have parties you say drunken, loud, drawn-out goodbyes on the pavement, in the early hours of the morning.
  39. Every social gathering you’re at, either ends in a feud or a shirtless fight in the street.
  40. You braai every weekend. Even in winter.
  41. You eat meat at least six times a week.
  42. You think eating salads is ‘white’.
  43. You’ve hosted at least one It’s A Pleasure Party.
  44. Your parents had their portraits taken at Van Kalker.
  45. Your mother makes Three-Carb meals like tomato bredie (lamb chops, tomatoes, potatoes AND spaghetti served with white rice).
  46. You were brought up on green bean stew, soup with marrow bones and dumplings, bean curry and breyani.
  47. You owned a tape recorder in the ’70s and made tapes of the whole family singing.
  48. Your mom cooks with dhania – WTF’s coriander/cilantro?
  49. You played with pitchy balls as a child and ate sour figs out of a little brown bag.
  50. Your parents had a beloved flower seller on the Grand Parade called Dol.

tbc …