People of the Cape Flats
People of the Cape Flats
It is worth mentioning that while there is a predominance of
"coloured" people on the Cape Flats, that this by no
means implies that we are talking about a homogeneous group of
people. As mentioned in my overview, the
Cape Flats was created as a result of the Group Areas Act, and
thus we find an interesting and exciting mix of cultures and
traditions which have combined in a unique way to make up a
"Cape Flats culture". I remember when as a child, I
first came into contact with Muslims (people of the Islamic
faith), I thought that they were very strange- aspects of their
lifestyle and language were totally alien, and I had to learn to
not only come to terms with this, but also in some ways,
incorporate it into my worldview.
who are the people of the Cape Flats?
If you are expecting me to
give you a comprehensive and concise answer to this question, I'm
afraid that you will be disappointed. In essence, the people of
the Cape Flats defy any concise description- it is precisely this
inability to pin down, to put in a neat box, that I find so
exciting and challenging. My neighbour and I may live next to
each other; yet at the same time, we are worlds apart. What we
have in common though, is that we are from the Cape Flats, or as
we would say- vannie Toun.
|When thinking about the
people of the Cape Flats,
there are two archetypal images that come to mind.
The first is that of a man dressed up in a colourful costume with his face
painted (I have yet to see a woman portrayed like this). The
second is the smiling face of a somewhat scruffy-looking fellow,
minus his four front teeth. |
A third image, which is less common,
is that of fishermen at some harbour hauling snoek (a gamefish
found in the cold waters of the Atlantic) out of a fishing boat.
These are the typical images portrayed by the mass media when
they make references to the people of the Cape Flats.
All of these images have one thing in common, and that
they all tend to show people of mixed origin (a slightly outdated
pc term for "coloured" people).
While it is undoubtedly true that the majority of people on the
Cape Flats (for the moment at least) used to be classified as
coloured in terms of apartheid legislation, it is certainly not
true that all the people who live on the Flats are coloured.
There is a large and increasing number of people of African
origin (and here I again use African in an apartheid sense) who
historically, have moved from the previous homelands of the
Transkei and the Ciskei and settled in Cape Town. It is also
true, however, that certainly the younger "African"
people in Cape Town have been born here, and many of them have
never been to either of the two homelands.