[LISTEN] Ehrenreich: Call me Camisa, not coloured

Talks Radio 702 presenter Karima Brown speaks to Tony Ehrenreich and journalist Gail Smith about an open letter the former Cosatu Western Cape secretary wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa about the 'heritage of the coloured people'.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa on the “heritage of the coloured people”.

In the letter, Ehrenreich said he sought to draw attention to what he described as the de-Africanisation of coloured people in South Africa, adding that the term coloured is a derogatory construct of the apartheid racial separation of people.

He suggested that the term coloured be replaced by "Camisa".

He went to explain why "Camisa" is a more suitable term, saying: “We are a growing culture that has a big part of its origins at the mouth of the Camisa river, where there was a bustling multi-cultural and multi-national trade station. This term Camisa, which referred to the sweet waters that emerged from this river, more accurately covers our cultural identity, and we prefer that reference to our cultural identity.”

Talks Radio 702 presenter Karima Brown speaks to Ehrenreich and journalist Gail Smith about the letter and the political contest of people of mixed heritage.

“Ehrenreich has a point to an extent on the issue. What it raises for me is the notion that race is a construct. Race is constructed in South Africa and it is time for us to wrestle with the many different constructions of race,” says Smith.

For more information listen to the audio above.

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