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Coloured by Race: A study about the making of Coloured identities in South Africa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

After the dissolution of apartheid, racial classification has lost its official and legal validity in South Africa. However, race is still a prominent model for social organisation and racial identities continue to influence the lives of most, if not all, South Africans. The endurance of the social and material reality of blackness and whiteness has been closely examined by anthropologists and other researchers but what about those who do not necessarily conform to either one of these social categories? This thesis focuses on the Coloured population in South Africa, which during the time of apartheid, were officially classified as a separate racial grouping. Today, large parts of the Coloured population are distant descendants of ‘interracial relations’ between the Black, White and indigenous population. They are an extremely diverse group of people with root in many different parts of the world but their collective experience of social and spatial separation from the White and Black population has nevertheless generated a sense of community that continues to operate in post-apartheid South Africa.


Based on four months of fieldwork in South Africa, this thesis explores the concept of Coloured identity in an attempt to explain how this former racial category has been and still is, made into a socially relevant category in the informants’ lives. I also try to illustrate the very multifaceted and unstable notion of colouredness by examining the relationship between the informants’ racial identities and their class identities. This intersectional approach has allowed me to examine Coloured identity as a complex lived experience that reaches far beyond its initial function.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 97 p.
Masteruppsatser i kulturantropologi, ISSN 1653-2244 ; 66
Keyword [en]
Race, Coloured, South Africa, Identity
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296649OAI: diva2:939226
Educational program
Masters in Humanities, Cultural Anthropology
Available from: 2016-06-23 Created: 2016-06-18 Last updated: 2016-06-23Bibliographically approved

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