Products of an Unfair Society


We live in a country that celebrates diverse cultures and languages, equally, none more so than the language of economics, English! That very same English is a mechanism that can be used to create further divides, for instance, there is the comrade-English that has been made popular to stupendous heights by my Youth President Julius Malema and his mate Kenny “Sushi King” Kunene, then there’s the glitzy American-English that can get you a job on all TV networks, and the least fortunate of the lot, the ekse-English that South Africans are still struggling to warm up to.

Pause. We are also a country that promises to celebrate the differences in heritage, race and all the other yidda-yadda that we are so greatly polluted by. Of course all those claims made on that opening stanza are promises brought forth by our ever-so-reliable government and backed by our constitution, mind you – claimed to be “one of the strongest in the world.”

I have a confession to make, and this will probably shock many, but I have an air of non-bother around it. I will loosely state that I do not like coloured people or at least the way they talk, of course my opinion should have no bearing on them because it’s just that, an opinion, but my opinion is accompanied with what I believe is an all round anti-coloured regime by the South African people all round. Coloured’s won’t even accept their “colouredness” these days, just ask Trevor Noah.

Quite a ludicrous statement to make, I know. I guess I could go as far as saying coloured people in South Africa are there to make up the numbers, of course with the exception of a few, such as Steven Pienaar, Danny Jordaan, Gayton McKenzie, Trevor Manuel, a few of their comedians, and all their speedy wingers that represent the Springbok. The coloured players that play in the PSL don’t even count, just ask Frankin Cale, he had to move closer to South Africa (Pretoria with Mamelodi Sundowns) before the national team selectors realised, “hey, that boy is South African isn’t he, lets call him up to Bafana Bafana.”

Of course with Trevor Manuel, who is a great inspiration for coloured children all over the country, he showed us that he is the number 1 defender for the community of coloured folks. He enjoys the thrill of wearing the bullet proof in defence of his adorned coloured people, just ask Jimmy Manyi, he’ll have you know that Trevor is a mean target and fights back.

The demographic of coloured people in South Africa is largely in the Western Cape (and Northern Cape). The WC is a region in South Africa that is considered un-African by many for many reasons, one, it is controlled by the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, two, it is one of two provinces in South Africa where the demographic is not majority black, and three, Helen Zille is the Premier there, enough to make any black person turn pale.

In recent times, the coloured people, especially those of the Western Cape have been the centre of many a spat from some prominent people. Top of my head, Jimmy Manyi saying “I think it’s very important for coloured people to know that South Africa belongs to them in totality, not just Western Cape. So this over concentration of coloureds in the Western Cape is not working for them. They should spread in the rest of the country. There’s a requirement of coloureds in Limpopo, there’s a requirement of coloureds all over the country. So they must stop this over concentration situation because they are in over supply where they are. They must look at the country and see where they can meet the supply.”

Then there was the unfortunate incident of Kuli Roberts, at worst she was being a comic, but of course her quite lengthy not-so-funny spat lost her a job at the Sunday World newspaper.

Switch on your television, switch on your radio, you will realise that we are probably not only the world’s most unequal society, but possibly the most unfair one too.

I want to tackle this issue of accents, black people are the leaders in being front men and faces of products and television stations and the whole 9 yards, but pay careful note to the black people that are in your face in our public broadcast service, our public commercial service, our free-to-air broadcaster and indeed our pay TV broadcasters. I’ve been watching YoTV since I was a kid, I no longer do of course, but never have I encountered any of those child celebrity kids with a coloured accent or an Indian accent for that matter. I have though found a few cases of a hard-tongued Xhosa fat boy like Akhumzi who struggled with the twang until he found his SABC1 voice many years later. Of course the majority of kiddies that have braced our screens on YoTV are from prominent ex-Model C schools where they are taught to “speak properly” and encouraged to roll their tongues as much as they can, so much as to impersonate the Queen. Be it as it may, these YoTV kiddies usually move on to greater things like YFM, 5FM, Selimathunzi, Generations, Vuzu, etc – whatever it is that fits the profile, “it’s yours baby, you can have it!”

Of course this is not only with the kids, we are moulded to the ideology that the twang or a Model C accent is best, how many presenters will you find on TV with “ekse” accents? How do those black boys and girls who grow up or school amongst and eventually speak like coloured people feel when they have no “success story” to attach themselves onto on this holy box we call the television that we literally live by.


I refuse to believe that there is no single coloured-accent speaking black person that serves to represent that demographic of our population as an idol. The twangers have a wealth of options to look up to, from the stumbling twangs such as Euphonik, all the way through to the affluently promiscuous Khanyi Mbau, to the Bonang Matheba’s of this world who “go on and on” till the night sets, there is an open sea of possibilities.

Of course there is Benni McCarthy, but he does not qualify, largely because he is coloured, he’s just as dark as us black people and beside, his fame is European-based more than African. But I guess it won’t hurt to look up to and grow to be as big as Benni – figuratively speaking of course.

CHANNEL

PRESENTER

TWANG

SABC1 Bonang Matheba

CHECK

SABC1 Minnie Dlamini

CHECK

SABC2 Kgomotso Matsunyane

CHECK

SABC2 Penny Lebyana

CHECK

SABC3 Noalene Sangqu

CHECK

eTV Dineo Ranaka

CHECK

DSTV Nonhle Thema

CHECK

DSTV Redi Direko-Thlabi

CHECK

Supersport Robert Marawa

CHECK

Supersport Thomas Mlambo

CHECK

SABC Sport Andile Ncube

CHECK

SABC Sport Tshepo Mabona

CHECK

But I suppose it’s not that bad, they can have Primrose Crous, she is affluent in her own right!

So is the coloured way of saying things not a part of the greater horizon for this rainbow nation of ours. We still do not have a fixed South African accent, but I can tell you one thing, this particular accent, is not even considered! Is this an issue or a non-issue?

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Comments
8 Responses to “Products of an Unfair Society”
  1. Alan Muller says:

    I struggle to cut through the contoversial “journalism” here. What is your stance on the issue? By ending this piece with “Is this an issue or a non-issue?” you have just covered your ass for a little while but it seems to me that you are somewhat of a racist or classist yourself (I may be mistake). Refering to the coloured demographic as “them” and having “thier” own idols etc. is a moderately uncomfortable way of doing things.

    That being said, you may want to check out the following link. Soli Philander is probably the most noted coloured entertainers/businessmen in the country. A definite “success story” and only one of many.

    http://www.speakersofnote.co.za/backend/documents/0soliphilanderbiography.pdf

    I don’t see this piece as a way of informing a readership about a given issue but rather a way to create sensationalistic literature which stirs the pot for no productive reason.

    • SihleMlambo says:

      The point of the piece was to highlight how the coloured society is for the most part coloured with shame in South Africa. I shall follow the link, thank you for your criticism, much appreciated, and noted.

  2. Sanelisiwe Malinga says:

    Fair article and very true. I kind of understand where you are coming from because people don’t expect to hear my “coloured” accent when I speak. I’ve been living in a coloured area all my life and I’m black, so my ekse- English is very real and it disturbs most people. It’s normal when I talk to my coloured friends because I can’t hear myself and we most probably sound the same, but I get the most criticism from my relatives who think that speaking English, especially ekse- english is for coloured people!

  3. sihlemlambo says:

    I’m sitting on the fence that provides a better life for all. As much as I may not be a coloured-like speaking individual, I sympathise with those of our black race that are “flawed” as it may seem with their ways of speaking. Like I said, its not only a problem of the colouredness in their speech, but I believe mainstream media as a whole has painted a lifestyle that is too western for our people. Only a certain percentage of our population truly relates with these model C regime that we are quitely creating along with the help of the media.

    • Vusi says:

      i find that very contradictary my friend, you, the author of this piece gave us the three spheres found within our country. And now you, the author tells me you fall in neither of these group of people. I find that very odd. My friend, in life you either in or out, never one foot in and other out. What are you, Superhuman?

      • SihleMthembu says:

        I think he listed the threee in reference to the majority of the public so perhaps he does not fall into any of them

      • Vusi says:

        Fair enough Mr. Mthembu and good of a colleague to forever defend teammates but my Q was per below. Which English does your colleague speak. I understand he does not speak any from “his”list which i find very odd, but which one does he present himself with?

  4. Vusi says:

    So, Comrade which English do you subscribe to? By the way good contructive criticism but you seem to criticise everyone, i fail to understand which side of the fence you sitted.

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