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.
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.