Cape Town – In an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, former COSATU Western Cape leader Tony Ehrenreich has requested that the term ‘Coloured’ be replaced with ‘Camissa’. This letter is reportedly Ehrenreich’s medium to explain the heritage of Coloured people as Heritage Day nears.
Ehrenreich says that the term ‘Coloured’ reflects the identity constructed and enforced during apartheid, for the purpose of racial division. He feels that the continued use of this term de-Africanises people, who have been classified under this term. In the letter, Ehrenreich says that many coloured people are able to trace their lineage to other African countries and to the indigenous people of South Africa. Ehrenreich says that this history should be celebrated.
For Heritage Day this year, Ehrenreich says he wants to see the Coloured community integrated into the rest of the cultures that are celebrated as African. He would also like for the history to be corrected and for cultural dignity to be restored through a consultative process.
Ehrenreich wants the term ‘Camissa’ to be used instead. He wants to celebrate the history of the multitude of cultures that united around the area of the Camissa River, prior to its invasion by Europeans. Ehrenreich wants the meaning of Camissa -the sweet waters that emerge from this river- to be used, as he says it is a more accurate description of his cultural identity.