Cape Town is stuck in apartheid. It’s an ugly blot on a ...

Ideas

Cape Town is stuck in apartheid. It’s an ugly blot on a beautiful city

But there is a way to fix this world-class city still mired in the evil political inventions of racial classification

Columnist

It is time to talk about that 100-ton elephant in the room.

I have returned to live and work in Cape Town for the first time since I left for studies abroad in the late 1980s. Since then I have lived in four major SA cities and worked with schools and communities in all nine provinces. Now I am back and, to be honest, little has changed in one major respect. Black Africans are invisible in this world-class city and leading tourist destination. It is an invisibility that spells danger for the city and for the country.

But first, let me put my classification cards on the table. Race is a fiction. There is no biological basis for classifying people by race or ethnicity. Thanks to modern genetics we now know that humans share the same genes and that minor variations in the gene pool are due to things like migration and inbreeding. SA’s four fictive races (white, coloured, African and Indian) are political inventions manufactured to divide us and to place us in an artificial hierarchy with whites on top and black Africans at the bottom. By the old definition, most South Africans are mixed-race. It’s what happens when you live together for 350 years...

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