Eyewitness News on 16 June 2015

There were moments in the apartheid Parliament proceedings when someone would stand up and read from a list of people who had been racially reclassified under the Population Registration Act of 1950, in the impossible political project of policing race. Many people were destined to, on the basis of their skin colour and several ‘tests’, live lives that were worlds apart from their family members and communities.

For some, these new lives were of their own choosing, as they had chosen to ‘pass’ as white or coloured to escape oppression, and for material gain. But for others, this choice was never an option, as they felt the weight of being inescapably trapped in the racial designations that would define their lives. The weight of the pre-determined fate of their melanin. Mixed-raced or coloured people, in particular, are often familiar with what Fanon describes as being: ‘responsible for my body, responsible for my race, responsible for my ancestors’.

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