Home PodcastJulie Alli Cape Town’s Marginalisation of Coloured People in the Democratic Era

Cape Town’s Marginalisation of Coloured People in the Democratic Era

by Thaabit Kamaar


Western Cape – In the previous month, the Mother City earned the distinction of being the second-best city globally for both living and visiting. Despite the awe-inspiring landscapes, rich and diverse cultures, and compelling history of the Western Cape, a harsh reality of racial, social, and economic inequality lurks beneath the surface.

This includes issues like discrimination, widespread poverty, and violent crime. Fadiel Adams, the leader of the National Coloured Congress, aptly characterised the situation as a tale of two cities.

On one hand, there’s the picturesque beauty, safety, affluence, and prosperity of Cape Town. On the other hand, there exist slums, high unemployment rates, poverty, drug-related problems, and gang activities.

Mostly hidden from the view presented in travel guides and brochures, this darker side of the Western Cape becomes evident upon leaving Cape Town International Airport.

“The sick thing about the tale of two cities is that half the city, the better half, consists of only 6% of the population, and the rest live in overcrowded slums.”

The Marginalisation of Coloured People in the Democratic Era

There is a widespread belief, substantiated by evident realities, that people of colour and other minority racial groups face significant marginalisation, neglect, and outright disregard from the national and ruling government.

Within these communities, essential services are often lacking, residents live in constant fear of criminals, and youth unemployment and disempowerment have reached unprecedented levels, which frequently leads to drug use or facilitation.

In various provinces, such issues usually gain attention only when residents resort to street protests to voice their grievances or when extreme acts of violence occur.

In coloured communities, government intervention seems to occur primarily in response to the repercussions of gangsterism and drug-related issues, especially when innocent lives are lost or impacted.

That said, such extreme acts of violence and crime can have a long-lasting and profound impact on people. In the Western Cape, Adams highlighted the deaths caused by gang shootings continue to traumatise the coloured community, perpetuating a cycle of violence.

“Hurt people end up hurting people, and our community is in trauma. When I tell you about trauma, children aged 6 to 9 years old should not be exposed to the sight of their Boeta laying on the street corner with his brains on the side of the pavement. Gangsterism under this regime is going nowhere.”

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Neglected Coloured Communities in the Western Cape

The disregard, neglect and discrimination faced by coloured communities have been acknowledged by ANC officials on multiple occasions.

During the 40th-anniversary celebration of the UDF last year, President Ramaphosa recognised that Indian and coloured people do feel excluded and poorly represented within decision-making structures.

Nevertheless, Adams criticised the actions and inactions, including the policies of both the DA and the ANC, which have been allegedly directed against coloured communities in the province, where a frustrated community feel their needs and concerns are continuously overlooked and disregarded by those in power.

“[They] are not in favour of coloured children working. It’s not what they want … It’s a threat they can’t tolerate. We aren’t dying fast enough, so they accelerate it by unemploying us, by keeping us undereducated and by keeping us hungry and homeless.”

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