Tag Archives: school

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.

Primary school kids and sexual content: then vs now

Sketch by the child, aged 8 (inspired by my old concept for a beer label)


Sex Ed for primary school kids is a tough topic, with a huge difference between sexual content available now and when I was a child. Then, there was tame ’70s TV, compared to the sexually and graphically violent shows at our fingertips now. In primary school my mother got me books on ‘changes in your body’, so I couldn’t just check out someone’s private parts on my phone. Most of what I gleaned about sex was via the secret reading of cliterature.


Primary school

My first taste of sexual content was aged nine, when I sneak-read my parents’ James Hadley Chase paperbacks. 

It didn’t make me promiscuous, potty-mouthed or dress like Lolita. Instead, I remained shy and cloistered up until I went to a convent high school for girls where I remained shy and cloistered. At my first job I was named and shamed on the noticeboard for not knowing what a ‘BJ’ was at 23. A Polaroid of me eating a banana was also my first foray into sexual harassment. But that’s another story.


High school

My biggest involvement with boys was a bunch of us blowing kisses and waving at young army guys en route to Wynberg from the back seat of the school bus. Pathetic maybe, but sweet and innocent too. Hence total disgust when I overheard some senior girls talking about ‘naai’-ing* in the loo. Sex Ed was a nun teaching us, and some smartass classmate bombarding her with questions on masturbation. 

And then I did some research.



Today I am the owner of the filthiest mind north of the Labia – stylishly honed on illicit childhood reading. This included my young uncle’s Scope magazines plus my mother’s ‘Everywoman’ gynae book (from whence I’d copy line drawings of couples in flagrante). While studying graphic design at Michaelis I discovered reams of photographic books at the library that made me appreciate the beauty of naked humans without the awkwardness of being in the same room.


My child

My husband made me hide all my erotic literature after our daughter started asking “What are they doing, mommy?”. I also removed the Cosmos and GQs from the loo reading pile after she said “Why are they kissing on the lips? Are they married?”. She was six. He’s right. We didn’t need to have the talk just yet.


Kids today

Most magazines for twenty something women are filled with fashion, make-up, sex and schlebs. Is this really all females need to know? I feel for my daughter growing up with cyber trolls, violent bullies, instant access to porn and rampant sexual predators. It’s a far cry from me giggling at someone’s older brother’s porn comic in the primary school toilet to today’s kids filming their schoolmate’s rape for likes.


Kids and sex – now vs then

Kids today are having sexual experiences as young as nine. Lord help us all! I don’t even know what’s changed from my childhood until now. Surely porn is still porn whether it’s available on your cell phone or you read it in a smutty paperback in nineteen foot sack? But why didn’t reading porn then make me stop respecting myself or showing gynaecological self portraits to strangers?

Sons and daughters need to be reared with the same values because all genders deserve equal respect and consideration. Too many children are left to do as they please instead of being given a snotklap* or punished when they misbehave. Sex education in primary schools should lead to better lifestyle choices and might even reduce incidents of abuse if the child is aware of their rights. Ignorance is never bliss because knowledge always empowers.

Is it nature vs nurture? I’m simply a mother who wishes for her daughter to stand firm in a festering world. If she wants to know about sex and doesn’t necessarily want me to talk about it, I have an age-appropriate book for her. If she wants to check out my stash of adult literature when she’s older, that’s ok, at least she’ll be reading a book. A dirty, sharp mind with a pure, strong heart sounds like a decent human being to me…

*Glossary of South Africanisms:

1) naai (nigh): f..k

2) snotklap (snawt-klupp): literally ‘snot smack’, slap face (until snot runs)