5 Myths About Coloureds

Image Credit: Hoberman

1. Coloured People Don’t Have Front Teeth
If there is one stereotype that has been long associated with coloureds, it’s the so called ‘Passion Gap’. Dental modification has been around for 60 years according to some studies; however it surely is not all Coloured people that adopted this insane fad. Now I’ll admit that it was fashionable in previous generations, but many Coloureds today do not regard it to be trendy at all.

Remember, other cultures in Africa also perform dental modification, but more as a rite of passage; from teeth ornamentation to teeth filing. Whereas most of these are treated as something spiritual, Coloureds know -that for us- this was a dom fashion that has substantially died out. 

2. Coloureds Always Swear
Now this is one I would say is misunderstood. Growing up in the Cape Flats, yes I was surrounded by a lot of cussing. However, we may not view swearing in the same way as other cultures do. Now don’t get me wrong, foul language is not something that one should be proud of, but it’s all about context. There are different levels of swear words; and depending on the level, many of us don’t view it as objectively wrong. Words like ‘Voetsek’, ‘Moer’ or ‘Kak’ would -in my view- fall under a less offensive level; whereas words like ‘P**S’ or ‘N**I’ -although used often- are more offensive. 

Having formed our own version of Afrikaans, our language at times -including swear words- are as colourful as we are. 

3. Coloureds Are Racist
The one thing that many must understand about Coloured people, is that we love making fun of people…including ourselves! This does not mean we’re racist or even rude for that matter; we just have a different way of looking at the world. Instead of losing our sanity for the inhumane conditions the apartheid government put us in; we choose to rather see the funny side in things or even people. 

When you think about it, technically we can’t even be racist. We are Coloureds; with a mixture of different races in our ancestory. Many of us have Malaysian, Khoi, White and Black in our bloodline; so how can we be racist, we represent ALL colours 🙂

4. Coloureds Are Gangsters
Without a doubt the Cape Flats is plagued by some of the highest gang crime rates in the country. This does not mean that Coloureds in these areas are all complicit to the very gemors we’ve been trying to eradicate for all these years. 

Just because you live in a garage, doesn’t make you a car. I grew up in Manenberg, regarded as one of the most dangerous places to live in the world; yet I didn’t join a gang or get addicted to tik. Your environment does not determine your destiny, your choices do! Some of the most amazing and kind-hearted people you will ever meet, are from areas like Mitchell’s Plain, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel and all over the Cape Flats. 

5. Coloureds Are Lazy
Again I have to appeal to my own personal experience to refute this unfair generalisation. My taanie raised us as a single parent, and she wasn’t doing that with a remote control. She used to wake up 4am each morning to walk to the station, praying that she’s not robbed by cowardly gangsters. She worked in a factory, hand sanding furniture; yes, HAND SANDING furniture every day. 

She would come home -put on Days of Our Lives- then cook, clean and prepare all our clothes for school the next day. This she did without complaint, working vrek hard to ensure we could have a fighting chance to have a better life than she did. 

So to whoever thinks Coloureds are lazy; I shall utilise myth number 2 in this article, and politely say; JOU MASE….! 

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  1. Excellent!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Just for interest sake: Myth no.6 All Coloureds can speak Afrikaans. What’s your take?

  2. This article is very defensive, not to mention weak. Also, people know that coloured people have slowly whittled out the passion gap but trying to justify it by saying others did it too and calling it “dental modification” is a lie. The passion gap was not “dental modification”, it was a way to make kissing and oral sex better, the intention behind it was not cultural.

  3. I grew up in Durban and later I moved to the Cape. I never thought as the coloureds as being lazy, racist, gangsters or being without front teeth. Whether they swore I could not say, but what I loved about them , is the way they could express them so clearly in Afrikaans, that it was a joy for me to listen to them. They have a way to colour in the language with words, that I thought to myself, why could we not express ourselves the same way. They made me smile the way they explained something, it was so beautiful. Without the coloureds , South Africa is poor.
    Ek het die Kaapse kapperjolle dikwels dop gehou. So kleurvol , trots maak hulle ‘n uitstekende vertoning en versteek hulle eie pyn.

  4. Wel gedaan!!! @Yaseen: Ai tog…HUGE generalization. The ‘Passion Gap’, as referred to in this article, has been around since the 1940s. A trend started by slaves to prove to their ‘masters’ that they have control over their bodies and not the ‘masters’. So to say that people today get them “to make kissing and oral sex better” is so out there and totally untrue. Granted, this is probably a story you’ve heard from Trevor Noah or someone very funny. So I can understand the misconception.

    Dental = of or relating to the teeth
    Modification = a change made

    Removing your teeth is changing you set of teeth. So “Dental Modification” is exactly what it is.

    P.P.S I’m not going of at you, I’m just setting the record straight, as I believe that was the whole point of this article to start with.

  5. I raised this very topic on Wednesday in a Workshop! It’s really disturbing to see the labelling continues, who compiled text books on ETHNOLOGY (Subject on Cultures, Belief System, etc) How do we change this mindset of people overall! SO HELP US GOD!

  6. What a fantastic article! I love the coloured culture, it’s unique and wholly South African. The generalisations above are of-course all generalisations and have no actual bearing, however do I think coloureds enjoy playing into these types of stereotypes as one thing that underlies the culture is a distinct sense of humour that is willing to laugh and play with everything including generalisations.


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