Coloured (Cape Malay)

Cape Town feels like an island. You can definitely feel the proximity of the water, even when you can’t see it.

I went searching for South African food shortly after arriving at my hotel in the CBD (Central Business District), but all I could find were chicken livers on fancy “international” menus. So I settled in at a place called Tiger’s Milk on Long Street.

The waiter was very attentive and clearly curious about me, so I took the opportunity to ask him about South African food.

“Well, because South Africa is made up of different cultures, it depends. Indians have their curries; the white guys have their braai. For example, in my culture, we have chutneys.”

“What’s your culture?” I had my own ideas, based on what he looked like to me, but I wanted to hear how he identified according to South African norms.

“Let’s say, the polite way to say it is Cape Malay.”

“The polite way?”

“Basically Coloured. But I know that for American people it’s not good to say that.”

“How do you feel about it?”

“It doesn’t bother me. Actually I’m proud to say it.”

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