Monday, 14 July 2014

The Glory Years: Part 1

My 1st 13 years was in a suburb of lower working class Coloured people in Cape Town during Apartheid. This was when Whites by law had many privileges that non-whites did not have.

Mandela was the symbol of hope that drove us to continue the struggle for freedom in these areas. 

In Cape Town, we Coloureds knew the white people. The so-called privileged class of people. Many Coloured areas were next to middle class White areas. In other parts of RSA people were more separated.
The Blacks were further away and more oppressed, but the Coloureds were placed closer to the Whites and could see, smell, hear and feel all the privileges they had.

Their big houses, nice clothes, school facilities. We were not allowed in their restaurants, had to sit at the back of the buses. No entry to their cinemas or pools. Even the beaches were mostly Whites only and of course we could not use their public toilets. Not even shit was allowed to mix. 

Apartheid made it clear what we were missing out on. The Coloureds knew this well. They would yearn for these things.

To swim on a nice beach. To go to cinema, to have a school with good facilities and windows in winter, even a grass playground, not a sand pit.

The Whites had pools, rugby fields, tennis courts, organised sports, and were well sponsored. Their houses even had pools and their cars would start without being pushed. We built their houses and worked for the white bosses.

Many Coloureds were programmed to think they were better than the Blacks. Since even being poor, many Coloured families had Blacks as house workers. Exploitation became a norm and was not even seen as a bad thing.

What they could not get, was rubbed in their faces. So close but yet so far. We could smell them, see them, hear them but, never touch or get close.

However, on rare occasions kids would organise soccer matches and on some occasions we played against neighbouring White groups. These matches were with no adult supervision, purely the kids just having fun during holidays.

This was our moments to get show these Whites.

They of course felt superior in many ways and arrogantly prodded on to the field, but on these match days. What fun we had. No referees, no stoppages, just get that ball in the goal and crush over them.

As was with many of these matches brawling was a big part of the fun. Back then it was clean brawling. Kids between 10-13 years of age. No weapons, just bare fist fighting. It was like clan battles with soccer as the premise.

On these days we showed them Whites who could play soccer and who could brawl. 

On these days we got to touch them and they knew who we were.

1 comment:

  1. I remember those days too well... and me being light skinned, with half my family white, got to see the real inside of this white privileged world - visiting family in Constantia on Sundays, going to Clifton with my cousins - and then - SNAP... back to the ghettos of the Cape Flats... and yet so many coloureds today still believe they had a better life back then - when they called the white man 'BAAS' and 'MADAM'... dumbos!!!


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