Cape Town, Africa’s Best un-African city

The media says Helen Zille marched on Zuma’s ‘compound’. It’s racist for white people to call a black man’s home ‘compound’. The correct term is ‘crib’. While she was away I marched on her Zilleville house. I was turned away by the armed wing of the DA, or as they call themselves, ADT.

The fact is Cape Town’s refugees and professional blacks don’t get to live in compounds. They get to live where apartheid put them: in a puddle on a sandpit.

Cape Town is the least African city in Africa, but Conde Nast just voted it the best city in Africa. Nothing Eurocentric about that. This week I told the peaches who follow me on twitter: “I love you Cape Townians, but get honest, your city is so unAfrican even the Voortrekkers decided to leave it”.

Apparently it really upsets people with pink skins when they are told they are not African. It’s awesome that they want to be African, but let’s play fair comrades. Living a 100% western lifestyle and then trying to score Africa points is like having a penis and trying to become a 100m women’s sprint champion (no disrespect intended, Caster). One cheesepuff even asked me “what is Africa meant to look like?” I answered that it kind of looks likes a piece of bacon. Mozambique is the fatty bit.

Ja, its very bigoted to tell coloured ous they aren’t African. Jimmy Manyi would use it as a reason to move people. The problem is Cape Town’s power centre, the CBD, sitting like a big tight-jeaned hipster crotch between Table Mountain and Signal Hill, is very Eurocentric. There is less melanin in Cape Town’s hipster city centre than there is in Buthelezi’s teeth. Culturally it’s like France light (not ‘lite’).

Cape Town is so full of cool people it’s slowing summer down. These scuffed-shoed, retro-bearded, obscure t-shirt wearing cultural imperialists are so busy being ironic they have overlooked the irony of their totally non-African version of Africa. Even the street poles with isiXhosa on them seem fake. Who is the Xhosa for? It’s not, for the most part, like they can afford to live there. And if they do they can’t go two steps without some German asking them if they work here.

In fact I’ll bet you my poppekas more Germans own houses in Cape Town’s city bowl than Xhosas. And these hipster colonialists whine like a DA caucus (hang on, they ARE a DA caucus) when someone asks if they are African.

They go, “but what about diversity?” Please man, “diversity” is the word white people use to tell black people to shut the f*** up. And the neo-Nazis in the centre of Cape Town (where have I seen that hipster haircut before? Hmmm. Mein Kampf’s Bay) will shout that I mustn’t generalise about their neo-Nazi version of white liberalism. They act like they are the nice white people… its those Steve Hofmeyr types we must hate on.

Screw that. The hipster version of cool is, in an ironic, retro way, how whiteness has been reinvented in Cape Town’s city bowl. Obviously you get black hipsters, who, apart from writing for The Daily Maverick or presenting LNN, shake up the cultural status quo just by being there.

But let them come with any demands for real change and see how quickly they get diversified to death. Ja, those Sunset Clauses saved some white asses. Maybe that’s why they so happy to have Mandela on the money? He helped them keep theirs.

In case you all think I am a puppet of Black Nationalism. I am not. WTF does the president mean by “white man’s justice”? What must coloured and Indian people do? Call into 3 Talk? The African-white dichotomy is a story racist politicians tell to get votes. African and western (not the same as ‘white’) culture have been mixing for hundreds if not thousands of years. Julius Caesar was pomping Cleopatra loooong before Theunis Crous tried it. I am just pointing out the power vibes.

So, Conde Nast, your favorite African cities are Cape Town and Knysna, where white people go to semi-grate? If that was any more backwards your publication would have reverse lights.

Chester Missing is a political analyst on Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola on eNCA and etv.

 

  • http://twitter.com/ursanegro ursanegro

    well, if the extent of your exposure to cape town is the CBD, then by all means call the city un-”african”. but, really… who wants to go there anyway? much of the time, it’s pretty boring.

    [full disclosure: i lived in the CBD for three of the eight years i've been in cape town, and on a nice day, i live walking distance away from it, even now.]

    that said, if the race of the inhabitants of a city center determines how “african” it is, then dakar loses too. ditto for monrovia, before the war, and tunis even now. but, being south african means that you pay lip service to the rest of the continent, but never have any real desire to actually see it, except for — wait for it — the same places that the tourists from europe visit.

    i’ll give you a kwerekwere inside secret — when a foreign african says that south africa is like “america in africa” … most of the time, it’s *not* a compliment. just so you know.

  • http://twitter.com/ursanegro ursanegro

    oh, and good job on “agents provocateurs” — few people in this place get that right. i’m sure you mispronounce it though.

  • liveindurbanbtw

    I can’t believe I actually read this monotonous s$%t. I still don’t understand how any city in Africa can not be African. Perhaps if we slaughtered animals on the streets and killed anyone for being sexually attracted to the same sex, then perhaps we’d get our “African” cred up. A civilised city doesn’t make it less African. It should be an example to the rest. (Btw.. favorite is american spelling. Change your spell check at the bottom of word to South African)

  • Matthew

    I’m not laughing, as Chester’s bio suggested I would. Full disclosure – I’m an American who has lived in southern and eastern Africa on and off since 1997, so I’ve seen and experienced a great deal the continent has to offer. It is unfortunate to me that South Africans seem unable to see the challenges their society faces only in essentialized racial and cultural terms. Cape Town is the best run city on the continent, and it is proudly South African. This should make every South African proud – black, white, and in between – because they are all part of pulling it off, from the municipal managers to maintenance and technical staff to the business owners in the CBD, who have not fled to the suburbs as so many have in Durban, Bloemfontein, and other South African cities, but stayed put and worked hard to make the CBD a safe place for locals and tourists alike. Cape Town should inspire city managers around the country, and they should be visiting to study “best practices”. Unfortunately, their visits are normally only holiday ones. And why has this discussion about being “African” gotten white South Africans so riled up? Because, as a political and cultural minority in a country governed by a hegemonic African Nationalist movement, they are rightfully worried about their civil rights being trampled in the name of “transformation” – a political weasel word if there ever was one. The point is, the ANC fills the political space in South Africa, and thus sets the tone for the discourse. Unfortunately, that tone is less and less about nonracialism and working together and more and more about pitting true African culture and welfare against Westerners. Whites recognize that unless they build a broad coalition of progressive and minority and allied groups, the ANC’s best traditions of nonracial cooperation will be lost forever to African nationalism. So they rightly ask: Who are Africans? What makes someone African? Do you have to be black to be African? What about the generations of Whites, Indians, and Coloureds who have known no other homeland besides South Africa? As an American, this is all really a pretty ridiculous discussion. Presumably, my ancestors came from Germany and some from Britain, and who knows where else. But I certainly don’t have any connections to those places. I’m American. And I’m proud to call myself one … not because I agree with everything my government does, but because for the most part, identity politics do not determine our elections nor the policies of our government. In only a generation after blacks in America were granted full civil rights by a majority government that was convinced it was the moral thing to do, we’ve elected Barack Obama to a second term. There were never any discussions (not serious ones anyway) over whether he was “American enough.” Instead, the discussions were over issues, and the policy proposals each candidate had to make America a better society for every one of our citizens. South Africa has so much potential, but its being held back by identity politics, and poor policy decisions and corruption are being justified in the name of “historical redress”. Taking wealth and opportunities from whites and handing them over to blacks isn’t the solution. The only thing that will take this country forward is if politicians of all stripes tackle the deeply entrenched structural inequalities that have disadvantaged blacks. That means making sure black children get a better basic education, giving them access to technical colleges and universities based on merit, not on affirmative action fiat. It is important to note here that the “white” Western Cape has some of the best performing black students in the country. Civil servants must be rewarded for hard work and competence – regardless of their race. Results and outcomes must trump all else when it comes to evaluating Minister’s performance at the provincial and national levels … because South Africa cannot afford to be as lethargic as it has been under Zuma’s highly politicized administration. ANC politicians rely on South Africa’s mineral wealth and position as a gateway to Africa, but these things are by no means guaranteed forever. It is possible to fritter away invaluable assets. Continuing to confuse racial politics for decisive and well-informed policies that stand to benefit all South Africans – so that all members of society have a reason to buy into a united South Africa – is a sure way to scuttle the ship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonnie.hill Jonathan Hill

    Really ZA news? You let this crap get on your site? Go Cape Town! I wish I could live there but work dictates otherwise.
    Yes, CT is the most unafrican city in Africa, and yet its the best. Speaks for itself..

    • http://www.facebook.com/jacques.marneweck.5 Jacques Marneweck

      It’s also the least racist and safest.

      • Prince

        least racist ha?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacques.marneweck.5 Jacques Marneweck

    So to be African you must take bribes support terrorism and make raise based laws. And don’t forget to use government money to finance your own dreams instead of using it to repair roads or create employment. And don’t forget to make laws to prevent freedom of speech that is supper African. If all that is true then yes CT is the least African city ever and God Bless them for it.

  • JustinZA

    Ravi Zacharias said, “we live in an age where ideas have come to matter more than people” (paraphrased), and this article is just that.

    We need to celebrate our differences and defend ALL citizens of South Africa, regardless of the many distinctions which you seem so comfortable with.

    Mocking Caster says more about you, than it does of her.

    There is nothing funny about hurting people. Take down the facade.

By Chester Missing

Chester Missing Chester Missing is South Africa's hottest new political analyst. Conrad Koch is his sidekick. It's strange, but you'll laugh... a lot.

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