I really hate the way that coloured people are portrayed on tv and in media. Let me begin by explaining a little bit.
Over the years I have become quite the avid soapie watcher. Other than 7deLaan I think most South African soaps are close enough to what life is actually like down South. Except for the coloured people on tv- it seems like they’re going through the biggest identity crisis of all because of the colour of their skin. Being coloured in South African tv-terms leaves you slap bang in the middle like the wors in a hot dog, except one side of the bun is black with the other white. I mean you only have to look at someone like our current and much beloved Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille for a slightly off (luke-warm & moist) representation of mocha skin on local tv. Also coloured, when she was given the chance to reach out to youth about the dangers to drugs, she chose to put together a video where she rapped. About drugs. Rapped.
This is not the only occasion of questionable representation of coloured people in media. One just has to look over to one of the country’s most beloved soaps Isidingo. A bad guy
(read: coloured guy) was introduced as the mining town’s Facebook rapist/Facepage rapist (they for some reason can’t call it Facebook in Isidingo-land). Long story short this guy did bad stuff and caused a scandal where another coloured dude, a barman in the local hotel (because he couldn’t be a lawyer or artist) was wrongly implicated and chucked in soapie jail. So, not only was the real rapist a coloured guy from PE but also the one that was falsely accused of the crime. Because I mean, it couldn’t have been one of the other guys.
Something that I’ve also noticed quite often on TV and in media is the way that coloured people sound. I’m not expecting a guy who’s supposed to be a gangster from Hanover Park to speak like he was Mary Poppins or anything. If that is how people talk then they should be represented like that. I am however quite sure that there is a big group of people who speak normally and don’t think it’s a good idea to remove their front teeth so they can give good head or whatever- I’ve never said naaiers or poes in an interview before and don’t ever plan to.
Sure some of it is self-perpetuated. Colour TV, which did a very short stint on SABC 2 featured what should have been a banging mix of coloured acting talent. Instead it just turned out to be stereotyped beyond belief with the likes of Clint Brink, Kim Cloete, Terence Bridgett acting more “gam” than that 23 year old cycling past on that kid’s bike in silk boxers (worn as pants).
Is it too much to ask that the next big role in a series or movie produced in South Africa that goes to some caramel goodness is one where the guy or girl speaks normally, isn’t a former or current criminal and has all their front teeth? Let’s stop giving Kuli Roberts a reason to refer to coloured people as “toothless, fish-eating troublemakers who drink beer until they fall over”– I mean come on… we’re only like that on Fridays.