Not sure this is quite the right word really

Duchess of Sussex’s historic moment as she tells South Africa ‘I am here as a woman of colour’ in heartfelt speech

Coloured” means something a little different in South Africa, doesn’t it?

I’ve even got the impression – quite where from I’m not sure, just something vaguely in the back of the head – that coloureds are considered by some of the more excitable Black power types to be interlopers themselves.

26 thoughts on “Not sure this is quite the right word really”

  1. You have to keep up with recent editions of the Newspeak dictionary. “Person of colour” is goodspeak, but “coloured person” is doubleplus ungood.

  2. Actually, in the Western Cape ie Cape Town, Blacks were the last to arrive. When the Dutch built their vegetable garden in 1652, the inhabitants were Khoisan, to which they added an admixture of West African, Madagascan and Indonesian slaves, all of whom contributed to the Coloured population, the classification of a multihued spectrum of Afrikaans speakers, which presentied a majot headache to Afrikaner Nationalist obsessives. Major Black settlement other than migrant labour began in the 1980s and continues apace with economic refugees from failed provinces and states to the north, an invasion into a previously Coloured area.

  3. In ‘Sith If-rica’, Coloureds are the mixed race descendants of European, Africa and Asia ancestors. So in a way, she is has accidentally landed on the truth.

    In the UK and the US, BME identity groups claim the mixed race descendants as their own, and this makes sense because it makes the minority a fair bit larger and increases the notional power. It is not necessary to expand the group in SA because blacks are already the majority.

  4. Bet those African women were laughing their socks off after. She may be mixed-race but the Duchess certainly ain’t African. She spout bullshit like that whilst under the watchful eye of the Royal Security detail. Try saying that in the middle of Khayelitsha surround by a gang of tsotses, she wouldn’t last five minutes on her own.

  5. Theophrastus: don’t you think you’re being racist by lumping all non Europeans into the Black category?

    The Khoisan are not Black and genetically as remote from the Bantu who migrated first east then south over the course of a couple of thousand years from the Nigeria Cameroon area, largely replacing the populations, as Whites are. If one is going to talk about colour, the Khoisan are pretty much yellow; their languages are entirely unrelated to any Bantu language except where some of the sounds and words have been adopted into Isixhosa and Sizulu during the process of enslavement rather than outright extermination.

  6. Could we bring forward the royal divorce in fairly short order please?

    He’s a misguided pillock who made a dreadful mistake and she is unspeakably dreadful – how they were unleashed on an overseas tour is beyond me.

  7. Back in the 1980s on a business trip to SA, I used the term ‘coloured’ with reference to Black people and my (white) host told me Blacks considered ‘coloured’ insulting as it was the term used for mixed race or Asians, whom pure blood Black people considered inferior.

    No racism there.

  8. The Khoi language is like no other. It is a series of vocalised clicks with only 10 discernable words in their vocabulary. As far removed from the Bantu as you can get.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    When I worked in SA I found the lack of euphemisms quite refreshing: Blacks were blacks, whites were whites and coloureds were, well, coloureds. They were all quite disparaging of those who did use euphemisms.

    Perhaps Henry can confirm its still the same?

    As to the question, the ANC/MK guys I worked for were quite relaxed about them and I didn’t witness any animus.

  10. “…don’t you think you’re being racist by lumping all non Europeans into the Black category?”

    Eh? Blacks are sub-saharan indigenous Africans – not “all non-Europeans”. The khoisan are black in the same way that slavs and Portuguese are white.

    And the linguistic argument cuts no ice. Are Finns, Hungarians and Basques non-whites because their languages have little or no connection to other European languages?

  11. BinD, I haven’t lived in SA since 1994. However, I was back there for a holiday last year. Nothing much has changed in terms of how people refer to blacks, coloureds, Indians or whites. As my friend Vusi used to say “I’m proud to be a spade and refuse to call it a shovel.”

  12. @ Theophrastus
    Bantu are sub-Saharan indigenous Africans but sub-Saharan indigenous Africans are not necessarily Bantu, just as all Welsh are British but not all British are Welsh

  13. Henry

    In common usage, the khoisan – aka hottentots or Cape blacks – are blacks. ‘Blacks’ is a broad term covering a large number of tribes and genetically identifiable groups – likewise for ‘whites’ and for ‘mongoloids’. That anthropologists invent certain finer distinctions doesn’t change that.

    I am not claiming that the khoisan are bantu. I am claiming that ‘black’ is a generic term covering khoisan, bantu and others – just as ‘British’ covers the sheep-shaggers, the porridge wogs, etc. I am also denying that ‘black’ is limited to those people who speak a language belonging to the Bantu group.

  14. We’re not French here, adjectives go before the noun. Learn. English. Especially if you aspite to be a member of the UK Royal Family.

  15. @ Theophrastus
    The Tamil are so dark brown that they are far nearer black than the Khoisan (and nearer black than most Bantu).
    This thread is about “Cape Coloured” who (when I was young) had votes (worth, IIRC, half those of whites). Khoisan should have been included in “Cape Coloured” instead of “Black”. IIRC the Duchess of Sussex would qualify as “Cape Coloured”

  16. I wonder is she knows Apartheid has ended and the Blacks are in control now.

    I could see doing that cringey speech in 1985 if an American with no value other than the bed they’re sleeping in got a chance to speak by virtue of their spouse’s position and wanted to rub their virtue in the face of the unvirtuous.

    I just don’t know what she thought this was supposed to accomplish. ‘Yes, you south-African non-whites can too rise to positions of power by virtue of being moderately attractive?’

    To which the response would be ‘you’re looking pretty white to us, don’t travel out of the cities unless you have a death wish.’

  17. @The Meissen Bison September 24, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Could we bring forward the royal divorce in fairly short order please?

    + 100

  18. TMB: I’m not a person of Britishness, I’m a British person. I’m not an engineer of software, I’m a software engineer. I’m not a person of maleness, I’m a male person. I don’t have pain of kneeness, I have knee pain. In English, adjectives go before the noun.

  19. I wonder is she knows Apartheid has ended and the Blacks are in control now.

    Probably not, left are usually devoid of facts – rhetoric is all. She probably believes Mugabe was a Russian oligarch raping Zim.

    I imagine SA blacks saying “Another rich white westerner virtue signalling, FO you ignorant cow”

  20. Pcar: I’ve seen the pictures of her in my home town. The group of IsiXhosa (black, Theo) mothers all seem to be thinking, “Why is this Coloured patronising us?” and the culturally down to earth Coloureds, “ Fok off you, pass-for-White, bought-and-paid-for foreigner!”

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