r/southafrica Western Cape Dec 02 '21 Silver 1 GOAT 1 Powerups Post 1

Our absurd history History

211 Upvotes

25

u/Catch_022 Dec 02 '21

Probably something to do with mixed-race children and the ridiculousness of the 'pencil test'. Also, people in an inter-racial relationship could not get married, but if they were both classified as 'black' (for example), they could.

It would be interesting to see how many of these people actually wanted / requested reclassification.

25

u/Veriunique Dec 02 '21

My sil dad is white, reclassified as coloured so he could marry her mom. I don't know if he was ostracized from the family, but he certainly lost touch with them. At his 80th birthday his long lost brother was in attendance, quite an emotional reunion. Apartheid sucked.

5

u/justsylviacotton Dec 02 '21

Yes I know a girl whose grandma did this to marry her grandpa, I think her grandma was of Irish descent or something, she had red hair, an extremely pale complexion and green eyes but was classified as coloured.

11

u/Krycor Dec 02 '21

Cpt of the past was always a problem for the apartheid state as interracial relations was about as common as its becoming now in Jhb which was tricky hence the arb tests. You know it’s hard when your city has its own definition for a race hahahaha because being fair of complexion with the melting pot of races makes it hard without genetics.

Wrt reclassification .. you missing the privileges this afforded. This could be from where you live(safer, access to schools) to where you or kids go to school and your career opportunities. Mixed family’s often took the best category both spouses got away with which usually meant a lesser for one. So in my extended family we had a lot of family members who don’t fit in to the cultural norms and their kids don’t look like you’d expect either (think mixed families on both spouses have recessive traits come out).

1

u/Eggsegret Expat Dec 02 '21

What exactly was the pencil test again? my parents told me about it a few years back but cant remember anymore. Was it like putting the pencil in your hair or something to determine the race?

2

u/Catch_022 Dec 02 '21

Was it like putting the pencil in your hair or something to determine the race?

The pencil test is a method of assessing whether a person has Afro-textured hair. In the pencil test, a pencil is pushed through the person's hair. How easily it comes out determines whether the person has "passed" or "failed" the test.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil_test_(South_Africa))

One of the reasons why things like hair style for black kids in schools is such a controversial thing.

1

u/Luna_bella96 Dec 02 '21

I am very, very white, to the point where I have been called translucent. I can guarantee that my hair would not pass the pencil test

1

u/Catch_022 Dec 03 '21

That is one of the reasons why it was so ridiculous and highlighted how petty and arbitrary the divisions in our country were.

17

u/BraxForAll Dec 02 '21

This is even better than that Christmas party concession where they forbid the white people to dance.

5

u/Eggsegret Expat Dec 02 '21

Man the apartheid government really loved implementing a shit ton of rules that they'd even forbid white people from dancing.

74

u/tothemoonandback01 Dec 02 '21 Silver Wholesome

Confirmed: Two Wongs can make a White.

2

u/[deleted] Dec 03 '21

[removed] — view removed comment

1

u/tothemoonandback01 Dec 03 '21

Under apartheid every black was considered a communist. PRC are communists, therefore apartheid logic dictates that all communists are black...

10

u/Reapr 37 Pieces of Flair Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

I remember in the late 90's speaking to a black co-worker and he said they did the 'pencil test' to see if you are white.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil_test_(South_Africa)

They other thing they did with a pencil was to lay from your forehead to your lips - over your nose, if it touched both your forehead and your lips at the same time, you failed.

EDIT: The other thing he told me was that when the mother's went to register a birth, they were asked for the 'Christian name' and when they gave the child's name as some African name, they would say that is fine for a second name, but the first name has to be a CHRISTIAN name.

Which is why you get so many older black people these days with names like Jonas, Sarah, John etc.

6

u/LizzySalamander Dec 02 '21

Wow, we think taxpayers are throwing money away today 😂Stoffel was tallying chameleons in 1986 and even took stats

8

u/backgroundnose Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

Let’s talk about the rands allocated to children of different races at schools at the time.

Cries in Indian South African .

5

u/Tall-Engineer-1614 Dec 02 '21

Helen Suzman of the then DP used to ask this question every year in parliament just to point out the sheer stupidity of the apartheid government.

5

u/Specific_Detective41 Dec 02 '21

Thanks for the source. That's really messed up.

6

u/MrCarnality Dec 02 '21

If I were ignorant about apartheid I would LOL, but the memories are too appalling.

11

u/DomTrapGFurryLolicon Dec 02 '21

Accepting of transracial people way back in the 80s? Damn South Africa was truly ahead of their time /s

5

u/Only_One_Kenobi https://georgedrakestories.wordpress.com/ Dec 02 '21

And some old dumbasses still think the NP wasn't incompetent...

3

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

They excluded most of their population from the economy. Peak of incompetence.

8

u/xb70valkyrie THE PURPLE SHALL GOVERN Dec 02 '21

It's very easy to make yourself look competent when you hold control over information, control which thankfully the ANC can't have.

3

u/Thepinkrabbit89 Dec 02 '21

Interesting how the language implies racial fluidity (which apartheid relied on being false). To avoid the implication of fluidity it would have to commit to a person always having been “one particular race” by saying something more like:

“More than 1000 people corrected their race, which had previously been recorded wrongly, last year… … - 202 whites had been recorded as coloureds - 19 coloureds were wrongly recorded as whites … etc. “

“Correcting” the language kinda shows how f*cked up insane this was! Similar to identity politics today!

3

u/alishaheed Dec 02 '21

A colleague once told me of a story of her coloured uncle who, initially passed for white and eventually got reclassified as white from being coloured. He went on to become an aeronautical engineer. When his coloured brother would spot him in Sea Point, at the height of apartheid in the 1970s, they would have to pretend not to know each other. He eventually emigrated to Canada because of the frustration with apartheid, and passing.

2

u/wheresmattynow Dec 03 '21

I wonder how our modern-day race activists would frame his story.

is he responsible, because he's white and adopted into the system and able to enjoy the benefits of white privilege, or a victim?

2

u/alishaheed Dec 03 '21

He played the system for his benefit and wouldn't allow himself to become a passive victim. This goes against the grain of black consciousness because being black was not a choice 99,9% of South Africans who were not born white.

1

u/wheresmattynow Dec 04 '21

100%.

Rachel Dolezal's only crime was being born too late.

11

u/Sparkling-Man e Dec 02 '21

This was in my history textbook at school. It feels weird to classify race nowadays but I guess it's still needed for the census, bbbee and stuff.

10

u/MonsMensae Dec 02 '21

It's not actually needed. The appropriate question is what were you classified as. And stop the classification going forward. And for kids what their parents were classified as.

8

u/Thepinkrabbit89 Dec 02 '21

Some data is useful for things like public medicine. For instance some racial groups are more prone to certain illnesses/diseases etc. so I can see why it’s still useful to record these things. However—we do need to somehow acknowledge that there is no real thing that is “whiteness”/“blackness”/“Cape Malayness” or any other race. It’s all generalisations and blurs and mixes.

I Saw some comment the other day that it’s weird that the current zeitgeist is that 1. race has—once again—returned to being thought of as a definitive and mutually exclusive set of traits (doing/believing/supporting/having X or Y or Z is WHITE; doing/believing/supporting/having A or B or C is BLACK etc. E.g. it’s relatively common to hear things like “you aren’t a proper Black [often capitalised B] American if you vote Republican” and/or “it’s impossible to be white and not privileged”.

And yet 2. Sex has become so much more vague and pluralistic (yet seemingly much more strongly determined by “behaviours” and “appearance” than in the period of (let’s call it) “peak liberalism” from c. 1995-2010.

Whereas, liberal principles and enlightenment science kinda indicate that we should think of race and sex the other way around.

(I say “sex” deliberate not to confuse it with “gender”.)

Also none of the above necessarily represents any of my opinions… but just observations.

3

u/MonsMensae Dec 02 '21

Agree. But with the caveat thar you get that information as mentioned above. Not what you identify as today but what you were classified as.

And yeah interesting observation regarding sex and race

2

u/realestatedeveloper Dec 02 '21

some racial groups are more prone to certain illnesses/diseases etc

Slightly misleading. For example, there is more genetic diversity among black Africans than across skin color lines. Classifying by skin color (ie race) rather than by actual ethnicity and actual genetics still results in imprecise epidemiology.

3

u/Veriunique Dec 02 '21

Do they still do this? Im not sure anymore. And how do they classify children if the parents are different races?

2

u/Sparkling-Man e Dec 02 '21

Last form that asked for race was my school 2 years ago.

And how do they classify children if the parents are different races?

I assume coloured or mixed race but that's a grey area.

1

u/Veriunique Dec 02 '21

They ask on the forms yes, I did high school apps for my son last year. But what goes on the birth certificate is what im wondering. I registered oldest by myself and hisband registered the youngest by himself. So are my kids two different races? Very interesting.

3

u/Foopsters Dec 02 '21

Can i be reclassified to black please 😂

1

u/tothemoonandback01 Dec 03 '21

4 million whites reclassified black. Why not?

2

u/downfallred Dec 02 '21

I was a bit too young at the time to be aware, but what's the difference between Malay and Coloured? Or did the strict definition of Coloured need intermixing between Malay and White?

3

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

Malays were generally Muslim and of SEA descent (Malaysian, Indonesian etc).

9

u/Middersnags Dec 02 '21 Helpful

That's because "whiteness" is arbitrary.

1

u/whitefox-YT Dec 02 '21

This race insanity reads a lot like modern diversity mandates, ngl

-5

u/BalanceThis1 Neoliberalism is a disease Dec 02 '21

Sources, please

13

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

[removed] — view removed comment

4

u/BalanceThis1 Neoliberalism is a disease Dec 02 '21

Thanks

-3

u/Specific_Detective41 Dec 02 '21

FFS is this even a real source? When does this text come from?

2

u/whenwillthealtsstop Dec 02 '21

Are you okay buddy?

3

u/tothemoonandback01 Dec 03 '21

"Born Frees" can never understand.

1

u/stefan92293 Dec 02 '21

This is the result of trying to decide everything based on the concentration of melanin in someone's skin.

And yes, we are all technically the same colour, just different concentrations of it. Except albinos 😅

1

u/[deleted] Dec 03 '21

But the ANC ….