Being Coloured - Race and politics in the New South Africa

I am reading Born A Crime. the recently published memoir of comedian and television host Trevor Noah.

Noah grew up in South Africa. His autobiography is a powerful reminder of the brutality of racism that keeps the world's colonised people poor. 

Noah speaks to me at many levels as an Australian who spent my first 6 years in South Africa classified as 'Coloured': a person of mixed race. Noah doesn't paint a flattering picture of the coloured community.

In 2008 I produced a radio doco on my journey 'home': Being Coloured. In it my grandfather observes, "You were what they made you". Apartheid South Africa divided not just its black and white citizens but other race groups. The political system bred violence and pettiness. Its legacy continues.

I travelled back to Durban with my mother, Lillian, to try and discover my ancestry and what it meant during apartheid to be 'Coloured'. Does the label still stick in the new South Africa? The documentary, produced with wonderful colleagues at the ABC, is a very personal journey about identity and what it means to be comfortable in your own skin.

Click on the link Being Coloured for ABC Radio Eye to hear it. It begins with me reading a story to my then small children; a book called Black Skin, White Cow.

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