Constructions of coloured identities in creative writing projects at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Authored by: F. Fiona Moolla

Routledge Handbook of Minority Discourses in African Literature

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367368340
eBook ISBN: 9780429354229
Adobe ISBN:


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Bereft as they are of a prelapsarian (that is, precolonial) or European past, coloureds are completely grounded in South Africa. Unlike the autochthonous Africans, they belong only to the site of that first encounter between the colonizer and the colonized.… Unlike the European colonialists, they are rooted in this part of Africa, without connections to the metropole.… Paradoxical as it might seem, it is not surprising that these quintessential “South Africans” have not had their national identity endorsed either by whites or by blacks, nor have they themselves embraced it; marginality has been accepted, transformed into the dominant coloured subject position, as much as it has been imposed from without. Hybridity is a sign of difference, of racial, cultural, and ideological impurity; a marker of alienation, hybridity is not read as a measure of integration into (and centrality to) the nation.… Racial impurity does not so much disqualify as it signifies a perpetual symbolic disenfranchisement, a marginalization that cannot be transcended. No South African community is better versed in the vagaries and contradictions of the politics of the impure than coloureds.

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