The Cape Party, with its quixotic attempt to have the Western Cape secede, operates in a fine tradition of civic blindness, writes Chris Roper.
There are many unofficial mantras by which South Africans live. “It’s only a crime if someone else is doing it” is the most important one to remember. I’ve got used to people driving while holding their cellphones to their ears.
But I’ll never get used to them breaking off their conversations to flash a finger out the window and shout, indignantly: “Look at that stupid bitch driving while talking on her cellphone!”
So the Cape Party, with its quixotic attempt to have the Western Cape secede from South Africa, operates in a fine tradition of civic blindness—because it’s constitutionally illegal, of course. Snide Jo’burgers will point out that the Cape has already seceded from the rest of the country, what with its “one blonde, one vote” policy and its insistence that Eurotrash be added as a 12th official language. So why not make it official?
In fact, why not go even further and actually separate the Western Cape from the African landmass and sail it away to anchor just off France, where the climate is good for growing wine and sneering at customers in restaurants? Well, because only a small part of the Cape fits the stereotype of so-called white, so-called coloured, racist, wine-quaffing Democratic Alliance voters.
There are plenty of black people there too, although the myth being put about is that they are bused in by the DA because you need black people for racism to thrive.
Hout Bay (a small, damp suburb outside Cape Town, also home to horses) famously formed a republic and did a brisk trade in official fake passports. But that was the cutely deranged action of a lunatic fringe, many of whom had buckskin jackets with actual fringes. The Cape Party is something else.
As a fourth-generation or so Capetonian I’m pissed off at the provision of yet more ammunition to the bleating, self-righteous Jo’burgers in the city I now call home, people whose moral high ground appears to be that they’ll condescend to take money from any race on earth, whereas in the Cape we only fleece Europeans and white folk. Alas, the Cape Party is the embarrassment that proves their rule.
Its party slogan actually seems to be “Free the Cape”—from the yoke of constitutional democracy, one assumes. It’s tough enough being forced to field accusations from Jo’burgers (no other city seems to care) about how racist Cape Town is. Of course it’s racist, people, it’s in South Africa! But now I look at the Cape Party and I despair.
I’m not suggesting that it is necessarily racist. I’m sure the new “Cape nation” will allow people from any race in, provided they pass a citizenship test that includes eating sushi while riding a Vespa in the wind. But it is blindingly pretentious and makes it easy to accuse certain types of Capetonians of not thinking of themselves as South African, and certainly not as African.
Chris Roper is the editor of M&G Online. Follow him on Twitter @chrisroperza