#HoutBay: the shadow of Apartheid hangs over Hangberg in the midst of Van Blerk's fear

Hangberg's demonstration about missing fisherman Durick van Blerk is simply a sad chapter in the lifelong struggle of a fishing community that is "colored" by the apartheid regime. A battle for their identity, as well as land and fishing rights.

On Friday night, community activist Roscoe Jacobs, spokesperson for the Van Blerk family, posted on Facebook: "Can not people talk about bodies that wash ashore without police confirmation, do not put it if it is not factual! It is insensitive and cruel! "Police divers have this week without luck looking for Van Blerk.

There is heightened sensitivity with regard to the fate of the 26-year-old Van Blerk, whose wife is pregnant, but also increased awareness and sensitivity about the living conditions and work prospects of the residents of Hangberg amid this unfolding tragedy.

The violent protests of Sunday were not the first and they will not be the last. In the past 15 years, many protests have been led by Hangberg residents regarding fishing rights – their daily bread – and their living conditions. This goes, of course, back to the time when Hangberg was created by the apartheid regime, whose status quo was maintained by the political, economic and social reality in South Africa.

The Group Areas Act promulgated by the apartheid regime in 1950 has appointed Hout Bay a "white zone". But because of the fishing productivity of the "colored" community, they were moved to the Sentinel close to the port of Hout Bay to meet the needs of their white masters.

Twenty-four years after the end of apartheid, the inhabitants of Hangberg are still fighting for the recognition of their fishing and political rights – not as "colored" people displaced by the apartheid regime, but as indigenous people area.

However, some Hangberg residents have no problem with the term "colored community, they call themselves proud." I am colored, I am colored, that is what they say … We are very proud to be colored! Not ashamed to be colored. "

Proudly they may color themselves, but they are not proud of being trapped in poverty and being dehumanized by the overpopulated way they are forced to live, with unemployment and poverty

As a "colored community" some Hangberg residents will not be appreciated by the government and still struggle to escape the stereotypical association of gangs with gangsterism and drugs, and these stereotypes are believed to be have an important influence on how the inhabitants of Hangberg are considered by the police and the legal system.

"I can tell you something … The way I see it when you see people smoking marijuana, they become & # 39; colored & # 39; called & # 39 ;. If they smoke, they are all colored & # 39 ;. If they do things as a crime, they will be colored & # 39; called. But if a color does something good, they become South African & # 39; called. We are not free because we are still living in a mental slavery. Apartheid is gone, but we are still stuck in apartheid, "said Hangish resident Mishka, who did not want to give her last name.

Hangberg residents and" colored people "carry the cross of never" white enough "or" black " are "enough" – "the dog of the whites". Forever stuck in the middle. Hangberg residents want to escape the haunting, humiliating spirit of apartheid.

"We are being influenced by many lies, truth, mistakes from the past … It will be a long process before it disappears with the next generations," said Ronald.

Then there are inhabitants of the Hangberg who reject the term "colored" by calling themselves "Khoisan people".

"If you have colored it means that you are nothing, if you are Khoisan, it means that you belong here We were born here, we are from here, we have ancestors from here, the ancestors of our ancestors are from here

"There are three problems: poverty, drugs and gangsterism The end of apartheid is a lie in So on Africa, I do not know who said apartheid was when Nelson Mandela came to power," said William *.

"They do not understand it. All they have to understand is to live as if we are alive, it makes us how we are. If you live alone in a big house, far away from everyone, you feel free. But when you live here, it is the poverty that causes these problems. "

* Not their real names.

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