Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I’m glad you’re here!

As you might already have seen, I use this blog mainly to focus on social and political issues affecting the lives of those inhabiting Cape Town.

I’m a Dutch citizen and arrived in Cape Town in October 2010. For now, this is my home base. No matter where you live, I would like you to start feeling at home in Cape Town too, through reading about the city on my blog.

If you enjoy my posts, leave a comment and please share through the social media channel of your preference.

Enjoy reading!


Disclaimer: You will notice that, when describing the people I write about, I will often mention their skin colour. You might wonder why this is relevant at all. Aren’t we all part of one big family, the human race?

Let me start by saying that Cape Town is a peculiar city. Counting approximately 3,5 million inhabitants, the so-called ‘coloured’ people constitute the city’s largest group today, making it South Africa’s only metropolis where black people are not in the majority. The Western Cape province (of which Cape Town is the capital) is also the only one of the country’s nine provinces not run by the governing ANC party. Instead, the Democratic Alliance governs the province.

Up till today, the particularly harsh way apartheid was carried out in Cape Town has left deep scars. The city remains largely divided among racial lines. Much like under apartheid, whites live primarily on the slopes of Table Mountain, in the city centre and the lush beach fronts. The majority of the so-called ‘coloureds’ (a heterogenous group with diverse ancestral links such as indigenous Khoisan and Xhosa people, as well as Cape Malays, Chinese and Indians) and blacks live in more distant suburbs and the Cape Flats townships.

The spatial segregation for race runs parellel to that for social class. Nearly 40 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line, and significant disparities remain in access to health, education, housing and sanitation. Notwithstanding growing pockets of poor whites and the existence of a significant black middle class and elite, being poor in South Africa (and Cape Town) still means being coloured or black.

The discrimination and racism people experience in Cape Town today is more subtle than during the apartheid era. However, it is present and alive. In this context, someone’s skin colour becomes an essential  part of their identity and the way other people perceive them. By explicitly mentioning someone’s skin colour I feel I am contributing to clarity, transparency and openness. It is never my inention to label, stereotype or put people into boxes by mentioning that which should essentially be irrelevant and insignificant: the colour of our skin.

3 thoughts on “Hello world!

  1. I love your disclaimer, as much as we are trying to move away from using race classifications to identify people within South Africa I think it is still important to note. As a Capetonian, I will definitely keep on reading…

  2. Marianne, parabéns pelos artigos que você escreve neste espaço. Os textos são uma boa forma de ajudar as pessoas do mundo inteiro a abrirem os olhos para os problemas que ainda existem na África do Sul, mais especificamente na Cidade do Cabo. Mesmo 20 anos depois do aphartaid, essas feridas ainda estão bem abertas e vão demorar para cicatrizar. Continue, com seus escritos, nos mantendo alertas para o que acontece aí!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s