Like others, I love South Africa, especially Cape Town. Though I had opportunity to migrate I chose Cape Town where my family has a history that can be traced for centuries. Cape Town is where I was born and want to live. This implies that along with others I must help to make the city work fittingly.
Thus when people especially leading politicians make general statements like Cape Town is a racist city, it is offensive. Across the world pockets of racism exists and Cape Town is no different.
A decade ago, on a group study scholarship, I trekked across the USA. Where-ever I visited, because of my brown skin and long black hair, the first question was always- what are you? In New York folk thought I was Pakistani, in Detroit locals thought I was an Arab, in Atlanta they thought I was Hispanic and in New Mexico they thought I was part Native American. Globally, ethnicity is an interesting topic.
The point is, across the world with or without Apartheid different religions, ethnic and cultural groups etc. prefer to mix, mingle and live together and are comfortable with this. This does not imply racism.
Example, although the Waterfront is close to Walmer Estate I often shop at Kenilworth Centre where I know everything is Halaal and since most of my family and university links live in the nearby suburbs.
Most old-style Capetonians also have tight social networks. While we are generally relaxed folk, that does not imply we will invite you home for lunch. This is not racist but merely reflects who we are.
As a born and bred Capetonian it is evident that Capetonians are more concerned with social class than with ethnicity. Thus Capetonians love to know what work you do, where you live and what high school you attended. This makes it so much easier to mentally pigeon hole your value.
While this approach may not be righteous, we are who we are and nobody’s perfect.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress