Opinion: Capetonians aren’t racist. They’re just douche bags.

I am so tired of the cliché that white Capetonians are racist. I’m sure you’ve come across this platitude before. It’s an old chestnut regularly trotted out by columnists and politicians that have run out of topics on which to spout forth.

“Cape Town is racist because a friend of mine once had to wait for a table in a restaurant while white people were ushered straight in.”  Ever consider that perhaps the people who were seated immediately may have had a reservation?

Then there’s the line that “Cape Town is racist because a German tourist I had a drink with said so,” as championed in a recent column by Khaya Dlanga titled “Cape Town’s Secret White Club“.

How can one argue with such in-depth research, which involved canvassing the opinion of a single foreign visitor?

My personal favourite is: “Cape Town is racist because it just looks so European.” Last time I checked, “looking European” and being racist were not mutually inclusive (although I suspect Julius Malema might disagree). It’s not Cape Town’s fault that it’s spotlessly clean, the streets are relatively safe and public transport quite efficient by SA standards. That’s the fault of the DA.

However, the argument that’s most regularly used to deplore the alleged prejudice of white Capetonians usually goes along the lines of: “Capetonians are racist, because they all have a superior attitude.” Or to paraphrase Dlanga: “Capetonians look at one another as if they’re members of a secret club. The White People’s Club.”

Now this is where I admit Dlanga has a point, but only with his first sentence. White Capetonians do look at one another as if they’re members of a rather exclusive club. But it’s not because they’re racist. It’s because they’re douche bags who think they’re better than everyone else simply because they happen to live in one of the most desirable locations on earth.

I can already hear some people howling with indignation that I am just another racist Capetonian trying to defend himself and those of his ilk. I admit I do look rather European (which is the fault of my ancestors and not the DA) but I can honestly tell you: “Know this! I am no Capetonian!”

I was not fortunate enough to be born in the shadow of Table Mountain. I did not spend my childhood waking up to views of Camps Bay, breathing the fresh Atlantic air or flirting with beautiful foreign girls on the Clifton shores.

Sadly, I was born in Klerksdorp (I cannot believe I am admitting this in public) where the closest thing to Table Mountain was a mine dump. I spent much of my early youth in decaying mining towns like Stilfontein, Welkom and Virginia where instead of a daily stroll to the beach all we had to look forward to was an annual trip to the Vaal River. And the closest we got to foreign girls was the visiting netball team from Orkney.

While I acknowledge this wasn’t quite like growing up in Soweto in the early Eighties, it sure as hell wasn’t Bishopscourt either. You can therefore rest assured that I am not a member of Cape Town’s exclusive white club. I know this because members of the club have frequently gone out of their way to make this crystal clear to me. Allow me to regale you with some of my experiences.

For instance, the first Capetonians I met at university could barely understand me. You see they had never heard a fellow English-speaking member of their race mangle his vowels (which is one of the unfortunate consequences of growing up in a mining town).

They thus took great pleasure in getting me to repeatedly say “I like Sprite.” I couldn’t understand why this was so funny until a kind soul explained to me that to Capetonian ears it sounded like I was saying “Aaah laahk Spraaht.”

Fortunately, after years of Capetonian influence at University my flat vowels acquired enough of an inflection that I no longer stood out to members of the Mother City Elite as a barbarian from somewhere in the hinterland. With a bit of effort I could even pass for someone from Hout Bay. Or so I thought.

Just when I began to feel that I’d done enough to transcend the invisible barrier to Capetonian Cool, one of my “friends” from the Mother City sent me crashing back down to earth.

“You know what?” he asked rhetorically over a few beers. “I think you’re a great bloke but I’m not sure we’d be friends in Cape Town.”

“Why’s that?” I asked incredulously.

“Well, to fit into my group in Cape Town you either have to be extremely rich, extremely cool or extremely good looking,” he told me with the sort of sympathetic look one would give a mortally wounded puppy just before it is euthanised.

However, I was not to be deterred. I had ambitions of finding a little cottage in Hout Bay, buying a Dean Geraghty surfboard and sending unsuspecting Capetonian lasses into fits of laughter with my hilarious renditions of upcountry accents.

So after graduation I duly moved to Cape Town where I was determined to carve out a life for myself. I lasted all of two months.

On my first night in the Mother City, I was invited to dinner by a former digs mate who lived in Rondebosch. After a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a discussion about the hubris of Hemingway, I was duly asked by one of the guests: “So Garth, are you from an old Johannesburg family?”

“Actually, I’m from an old Klerksdorp family,” I replied with what I thought was my devastating wit.

You could have heard a pin drop for at least 10 seconds after my confession. Finally someone changed the subject and asked where I’d be staying in Cape Town. Apparently Table View was the wrong answer. The guests left shortly afterwards, one of them muttering something about the misfortune of having to live behind the “boerewors curtain”, an area I later discovered was anywhere north of Rondebosch Common. (Incidentally, if you think this condescension is exclusive to English-speaking Capetonians let me tell you that there is no snob like the son of a Stellenbosch wyn boer.)

Sadly, such pretentiousness is something that afflicts most citizens of the whitest Cape. Mention in polite conversation that you’re from somewhere mundane like Randburg and a Capetonian might even apologise that life could be so cruel.

Over the years I have made frequent trips to Cape Town for both business and leisure, and I can confirm that nothing has changed. A few years ago I found myself chatting to what I thought was a rather lovely local lass in one of the trendy bars that line Long Street.

Everything was going swimmingly until she asked where I lived.

“You look like a Rondebosch boy,” she beamed.

“Actually I’m a Jo’burg boy,” I answered with what I now realise was stupid honesty.

“Eeuuwww!!!” is all she said and then turned around and walked off without so much as another word.

On a more recent visit I attended a craft beer tasting at the Waterkant where I was introduced to a reasonably well-known former columnist, who for the sake of anonymity we shall simply refer to as Zam Vilson.

“Great to meet you Zam, I’ve read your column,” I said, trying to make up for the faux pas of being publicly introduced as “Garth from Jo’burg”.

She looked me up and down like something the wind had blown in and for a split second I thought she was hailing security. Fortunately, she was waving at an imaginary acquaintance in the crowd and promptly disappeared. Unfortunately I can’t play the race card, although I dearly wish I could.

Now I’m sure there will be at least a few Capetonians who will deride me as someone who is simply bitter for not cracking the nod with the Llandudno cool set. However, nothing could be further from the truth. After all, the purpose of this piece is to defend Capetonians, and specifically those of paler hue, against the allegation that they are somehow inherently racist.

The fact is that I have never met anyone who hasn’t had similar experiences with white Capetonians. However, I don’t believe it is due to a congenital propensity to discriminate. I make a point of always asking non-Capetonians what they think of the locals and the answer is always the same: “They’re ridiculously cliquey.”

And therein lies my point. Caucasian Capetonians are no more bigoted than anyone else in South Africa. They just think they’re better than everyone else. They’re like the rich kids who lived in the best houses, attended the best schools and subsequently got the best jobs. They don’t look down on you because they have a specific disregard for you or your kind. They look down on you simply because they can.

That doesn’t necessarily make them racist. It makes them douche bags. Generally speaking, of course.

Comments

  1. Angharad says:

    I came to Cape Town because I studied the Cape Floristic region at uni and wanted to study the plants first hand. I’ve also traveled to China, Peru and Egypt to study geology. Never have I meet such backward, insular, ignorant people as here in Cape Town! I’m glad I came to see the plants, but the white people here need to join the 21st century and get over their big fish in a little pond syndrome. There are many other equally beautiful places in the world where the people are much less self-absorbed. My description to friends back in the US is: “The plants & geology are so incredible. Such a shame the people aren’t.”

  2. Damon Turner says:

    I live in Cape Town, and I’m racist. I am prejudiced against white
    people. Full stop. I don’t want to be, but currently I am afflicted with
    this racism. What white people have done, throughout the history of the
    world that I have been able to find out about so far, means that I
    cannot with good conscience think anything other than that white people
    are the most dangerous, least humane, and frankly, the most
    intellectually deficient.

    Racism is a disorder of the logical mind, and rears its disgusting
    and unacceptable head in numerous ways, shapes and forms; and it’s
    killing our people. Since you say that white Capetonians are douche bags,
    does that mean you would say that other Capetonians, and indeed, all the
    people in the rest of the world, are not douche bags? I simply wonder why
    you have focussed specifically on white Capetonians?

    And can we also have an essay on the sexists of the world? You know,
    the ones who say that particular activities are specifically women’s
    work, or specifically men’s work… More than half the population of this
    planet is female, and no single ethnicity comes close to half the
    world’s population, so from an objective point of view, sexism is an
    even greater evil than racism. But in my view, by far the worst of the
    evils is classism. Since one percent of the world controls almost all
    the financial resources, and deploys those resources away from those who
    need it the most, towards their own one-percent club, it stands to
    reason that classism must be an even greater evil than racism and sexism
    put together. Where do douche bags fit on this scale, in your opinion?

    Of course, if we could find a way to eradicate classism, sexism, racism and douche bagism, that would give us our best possible outcome. Would you kindly
    put your thoughts towards writing an essay on how to engender a society
    that has no bias towards any particular economic class, gender or
    ethnicity? You know, instead of telling us who you think is or isn’t racist in
    Cape Town. Because I don’t want to be racist any more than you want
    white Capetonians to be douche bags.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Garth Theunissen says:

      Hi Damon

      Allow me to relate a little parable I picked up during the 3 years I spent living in Asia. Apparently long, long ago there was a buddhist monk who had several devout students who wanted to learn about `the way’ to enlightenment. One of the students was particularly devout and worked harder than all the otherst. Now the town they lived in was a tad rough and lots of the young fellows preferred to spend their time drinking and raising hell rather than seeking out spiritual enlightenment. The devout student was naturally outraged and so one day he approached the monk to ask what on earth he could do to change the minds of these young louts who preferred to spend their time drinking and causing trouble. The monks answer? “Change yourself.”

  3. I am a bleeding-heart, vegetarian, bunny-hugging liberal. I resist judging according to stereotypes and have felt welcome in cities around southern Africa (I travel regularly for work), one of which I see as my third home. But I come from Joburg and have lived in CT for three years now. Never has it occurred to me to label someone according to the city they come from – except to say “that’s cool” and find out more about them as an individual – until I came to CT. I will not go into the litany of really, really nasty things Capetonians (disclaimer: from the southern suburbs only; some of my best friends are purebred Capetonians ;) ) have said or done to me, except to say that I no longer react to the people who say “shame” when I say I come from Joburg – because they clearly cannot conceive of a place where our only reaction to someone who comes from somewhere else is to say “that’s cool” and proceed to find out more about who they, as an individual, are.

  4. raggatooth says:

    I am very happy to be living behind the Boerewors curtain! Quite convenient for Capetonians to include themselves in the Winelands when it suites.

  5. fluffypony says:

    As a Joburger living in Cape Town for 5 years I can fully attest to this article. I have friends that I have made in Cape Town of all races, creeds and colours, but the locals are the hardest to befriend. They all seem to obsess over what school you went to. Telling them the name of your school is treated with a blank expression and dear-in-the-headlights eyes. Explaining thereafter that it’s a public school in Joburg will lead to a curt “oh…ok” and you will, most likely, never be invited out by them ever again.

    I have not found racism to be any better or any worse in Cape Town vs. Johannesburg. As I am in the IT industry, it tends to ignore race (for the most part) and appoint people on merit, qualification and ability. I have seen white people rejected for a managerial role because they simply were not good enough. I have seen an Indian female promoted to a very senior role because she was technically gifted. I have had coloured developers working for me who output incredible, well commented, quality code that complies with all of the best practices we adopt. To say that there is a white ceiling is utterly absurd – most of my major clients and companies I have worked with in Cape Town have a mix of various races in their upper management. However, I have noticed far more coloured people in upper management than black people – but I would attribute that to the larger coloured population in Cape Town than elsewhere in the country.

  6. Lived in Pretoria most of my life, moved to cape town 4 years ago – my friends in cape town are all ex-jhb or ex-pe.

    I found that even living in a posh bloubergstrand house, was not good enough to mingle with the camps bay, southern suburbs crowds.

    The city is cleaner, the city is safer – the city is better run by the DA than what the palookas up north are doing. For that alone i would never move back, but it is nice to go back to jhb now and then to visit the friends. People are just not the same in cape town.

  7. I grew up in the Cape. I studied in Stellenbosch. I now live in Joburg. And I find it very, very sad that there are people out there who don’t understand humour. Personally, I take no offense whatsoever to this article.

  8. disqus_VUluysgAIc says:

    Well-written piece Garth!
    I’m a Joburg girl and recently went to Cpt for a work function. I spent the evening talking to a fellow Joburger, drinking way too much of their “superior wine at better prices” (“because wine doesn’t travel well, you know”), defending my lack of common sense (“Johannesburg? But why don’t you move to Cape Town?”) and trying really hard to look more tanned (“Ah, yes, I can see you’re not from here. We get out more, you know, living in such a beautiful place.”).
    That being said, I have also met some pretty cool people from Cpt.
    One thing that still puzzles me though: why do so many Capetonian guys wear pastel short and T-shirts that are two sizes too small for them?

  9. Christopher Becker says:

    Great article Garth!

  10. 100% with Garth and the fact that so many Capetonians are whinging about it proves the point

  11. Dude, the fact that you assert that Cape Town’s streets are relatively safe displays either a mind-boggling ignorance or a racist exclusion of the Cape Flats as genuine parts of Cape Town. The streets here are frightening places for those who live in Lavender Hill, Manenburg, Hanover Park…. Part of the racism of white Capetonians is the very fact that they, as a group, exclude non-white Cape Town from their concept of Cape Town, just as you have.

    Oh, btw, your research is as sloppy as Dlanga’s, douchebag.

    • Garth Theunissen says:

      I also asserted that Table View (where I lived) as well as anywhere north of Rondebosch common was excluded from white CTonians concept of CT. I take your point about the Flats being dangerous but, rightly or wrongly, it’s not an area most people from out of town would visit. Perhaps you could change that by taking people on tours so that more people can be exposed to this part of CT.

  12. Weskusklong says:

    Garth, excellent article. I do not know of anybody in my “clique”
    that has not had the same experience. My wife and I have been living in Cape
    Town for six years and have made many friends along the way. For some reason
    most of them from PE. This has become a little bit of a joke, “we only mingle
    with people from PE”.

    Anybody who reiterated with harsh defensive words are definitely
    thoroughbred Capetonians. To these elite
    I would just like to say: When I first arrived in Cape Town I wanted to be like
    you, after some time I would have been happy just to be liked by you, but now I
    wish I could like you. Don’t keep the clique too tight Cape Town, genetics can
    be a bugger.

  13. Geraldine Eliot says:

    I attended boarding school in Cape Town while still living in Somerset West and I remember being asked if I shopped at Pep Stores and lived on a farm. I remember the glazed looks as I tried to explain where Somerset West was… I ended up saying “you know, the place you drive through on your way to your holiday house in Hermanus.” I ended up spending most of my life in Cape Town and consider myself a Capetonian (though I probably wouldn’t make the cut if I had to be evaluated by “true” Capetonians) before I moved to the first world equivalent – Vancouver – and I have to heartily concur. To make the “real” Capetonians feel a bit better, there have been studies conducted – STUDIES! – here that show that the majority of newcomers to Vancouver find it impossible to make friends, purely because of the cliqueyness, not because of race.

    PS – My best line, though, had to be “And the closest we got to foreign girls was the visiting netball team from Orkney.”

  14. Ha! This is really funny! I’ve moved from Jozi to Strand 4 years ago (yes, to Strand, because it is cheap and I live one street away from an amazing beach). And it seems that even Somerset West (that is a few blocks from Strand) looks down on Strand peeps. I went to Design Indaba and when one of the exhibitors realised I live in Strand, the only thing he said was “shame” and he turned his back to show interest in someone else. I think the big divider is that it’s quite expensive to stay in Cape Town itself and that keeps a whole lot of people out. I, for one, can’t afford to stay there. So of course there will be an air of “ownership” because they pay a whole lot of moola to sustain their Capetonian status. Driving to anywhere outside CT is also quite strenuous, it seems. Visits always end up being close to the Capetonian and never close to me. Well, different strokes for different folks. I love the beach, I love the fact that there are so many open spaces and that it is safe to take walks up the street. So I don’t mind the people.

  15. Concerned White CapeTonian says:

    I have to disagree. I work with a number highly educated smart well paid young black professionals, mostly originally from London and outside South Africa. All of them have been in CT 2-3 yrs and all live in the CBDCamps Bay. They love Cape Town for the lifestyle but don’t feel welcome. They end up going the same bar week in and week out, as it is the only place where they feel comfortable and are not the only black face in the bar. CT city’s barsclubsrestaurants are the least cosmopolitan of SA’s three biggest cities. Any young black professional if given the choice would choose JHB over CT. Labelling the city as racist is shortsighted ,but so is putting the problem down to being bunch of “douche bags” (which FYI is also inexcusable).

  16. In other news the global economy seems to be ticking over nicely and shares ended up today. Which should be good for our EXX trade tomorrow! You can see people are in the end of year mood when they get so excitable about these kind of columns. Good job Garth

  17. What a load of opinionated rubbish…..how insecure and sad are you? You can’t even use people’s real names you spineless wimp. Get a life and pay some people to be your friends. Sweeping statements and judgements are the refuge of the weak and uneducated. I don’t know whether to be angry with you or with your editor for publishing this ill informed personal whiny rant.

    Get a life and put your ‘writing skills’ to better use….somewhere, someone needs more juvenile, self indulgent fiction…..you should totally call Stephenie Meyers, Twilight fan fiction awaits.

  18. The main problem with this article’s ridiculous generalisations is that they get read by people who believe them.

  19. I have lived in Cape Town since 1974 – and I still know very few Capetonians. Namibians, yes; Zimbabweans by the truckload; a few fellow Zambians – but precious few folk born and bred here.

    But it’s OK: there are so many of us immigrants, we all hang out together! A recent work gathering pointed up the fact that out of 12 very senior University of Cape Town people around a table, there were 3 Zimbabweans, 2 Zambians, 2 Poms – and 4 CT natives (one from Stellenbosch, which doesn’t count). We WILL assimilate tham…B-)

  20. Chris Venter says:

    My problem with this article is the generalization. I’m a
    white capetonian born and raised in a middle-class family. I have worked hard
    to pay rent and survive and occasionally spoil my girlfriend. I try to go out
    of my way to support people around me be they local or foreign. Most people I
    know are down to earth and not judgemental in any way. I do agree that you get
    your typically white rich snobbish capetonians, but let me tell you it’s definitely
    not all of us. We actually move in very very different crowds. I am sorry you
    have had such a bad experience. Maybe you should try working on your decency
    radar so you can actually detect decent human beings. I mean as a
    “writer” this should be a built-in requirement before actually being
    able to make generalized accusations like this. And thank you for stating we
    are not racist; however, I must correct this. A lot of the white people here
    are racist. A lot of the coloured people here are racist. A lot of the black
    people are racist. I haven’t encountered racist Indians yet. But let me tell
    you. Contrary to what some people may believe a lot of people here work
    together and ignore the whole race thing. Most people I know just want to move
    forward and forget the past. The way you described us as not being racist but
    douche bags actually makes me prefer the racist option. Not that I am one or
    ever will be one. I have also never thought of Cape Town being one of the “top
    destinations in the world” so how can I be described as someone who looks
    down on people if they don’t live here? Get your facts straight man. You are
    contributing to false media and propaganda which turns people against our
    lovely (and let me add “welcoming”) country. This is what generalization
    does. And please don’t say you’re defending us. There are actually more
    negative things in this article about us than good things. Don’t be a coward
    and hide behind false words. You don’t like Capetonians, plain and simple. This
    is a complaining article, definitely not a defending article. I hope you
    actually meet some of the good ones on your next trip. Maybe then your article
    won’t be about the grudges you hold. Life is too short my friend. Live and
    love. God bless.

    • Garth Theunissen says:

      Chris, I can assure you I hold absolutely no grudges against CT or Capetonians. My intention was simply to give some perspective to what I belief is the mistaken notion that CT is a den of racists. My point is that Capetonians are simply snobbish,not racist. I have been accused of making generalisations but in actual fact I haven’t. I have simply related some personal experiences which, if I had not been white, may have led me to conclude that I was being looked down upon because of my race.

      • Chris Venter says:

        I completely understand what you’re saying Garth, but
        reading this article I feel exactly the same way as you felt by some
        capetonians. It feels as if you are looking down on me because of where I am
        from and because of the skin of my colour. If I didn’t know you are white I
        would feel that this was a racial thing towards us. Simply stating that white
        capetonians are snobbish is a generalisation. I think to say that SOME white
        capetonians are snobbish might be right. In fact I would agree with that
        wholeheartedly. But you can’t judge us because of a few rotten tomatoes. Or
        should I rather say you can’t replace one bad characteristic with another bad
        characteristic and say you’re defending us. I try really hard in life to be as
        accommodating as much as I can in any situation towards any person and I try to
        stay humble as much as I can, which can be difficult as you can see in my first
        comment. But the good things here are apparently overshadowed by the bad
        attitudes of the white “high and mighty”. Since when do the attitudes
        of one misguided culture group set the standard tone for the rest of us? Maybe
        you should stop visiting all the “snobbish” places and see the real
        life here in Cape Town.
        There are some great humanitarian and NGO programs going on. There are some
        great local pubs where all are welcome. There are some great galleries or
        theatres to visit with fun and interesting people who don’t care where the hell
        anyone comes from. Personally I don’t know what the big deal is if you came
        from Klerksdorp or any other place. What does it matter? We’re all the same. No
        “net-worth” or place of birth can make one person worth more than the
        other. That is utter crap. Most people here feel like that. In the area I grew
        up most people would lend their neighbour a helping hand if they needed it,
        whether they’re capetonian or not. Trust issues have been growing in the last
        few years yes, but that’s a nationwide thing. Thefts occur more often than
        usual, the law is against the white man having any kind of progess in life, I
        as an Afrikaans Christian white male am being accused of so many different
        things I don’t even have any part in and I’m not even allowed to have a
        heritage anymore. Petrol prices go up. The government doesn’t give a crap. Yes
        there are trust issues that grow at an alarming rate and I’m sure it’s not only
        here in Cape Town.
        And maybe that is also a reason why some people act the way that they do. Some
        people feel more comfortable living in denial instead of facing reality and
        they would look down upon people that want to pull them towards reality. There
        are so many misconceptions going on here. Everywhere in the world in fact. And
        the media isn’t helping; this article is an example for me. Okay, so you are
        not accusing us of being racist. Great stuff. And thank you once again. But you’re
        replacing the wood in the fire with charcoal. The fire is still there. Would
        you not agree that “defending” us is the wrong word to use here?
        Please don’t get me wrong. I can see that you are a good guy with a moral
        compass and honestly I am not trying to attack you. But please, PLEASE don’t
        look at my city and tell me it’s purple when in fact it’s multi-coloured. This
        is very insulting.

        • Garth Theunissen says:

          Chris, anyone who knows me is well aware that I have absolutely nothing against your beautiful city. I love it in fact. If you read my article carefully you will see that I praise it’s lifestyle and beauty. I’ve also taken the mickey out of myself and my origins just as much as I’ve taken in out of CT and Capetonians.
          I also don’t agree with the notion that I have made sweeping generalisations. I have actually just related a series of experiences accumulated over the last 16 years that have led me to conclude that white Capetonians are prone to being a bit snobbish. I have traveled widely, both locally and internationally, and I have never had people apologise sarcastically when I tell them where I’m from. By contrast, Capetonians do this quite frequently.
          Now I know you will say I am generalising and not ALL Capetonians do this. Of course. I agree. My point is that they are far more prone to it than anyone else I have come across. I acknowledge that this is based on my own subjective experience but that is precisely what a column is about. It is also why Finweek slapped a huge banner on my piece pointing out that it is OPINION. Asking me not to generalise is like asking me to not have an opinion, which I’m sure you can tell is something very difficult for me. How is one supposed to form an opinion on anything without generalising? Personally I think it is healthy for different views to be aired and debated. It’s the best way of achieving some form of social consensus, which is sometimes boils down to just agreeing to disagree.
          The point of my article was never to bash CT or Capetonians. It was to point out that I don’t believe they are inherently racist, although they may be prone to a bit of inherent snobbishness. But that’s just my opinion.

          • Chris Venter says:

            ah I see. I never knew there was an opinion option on a news site. That’s quite a funny thought seeing as personal opinion can mainly be rooted in assumption. I don’t know what a news site would possibly want this for. Should they not be rooted in objective fact? There is something wrong when news sites and blogs meet. It’s almost like that idea of a wolf being in sheeps’ clothing. Or in this case a sheep being in wolves’ clothing maybe? With bold statements it claims to be news, using words like “racists” and “douche bags”, but in fact it’s about the non-factual one-sided rantings of a man who just can’t handle being talked to sarcastically about where he is from. Come on, write something news worthy. Maybe you’ll get more comments. Have you seen the state our beloved country is in? There are loads to write about. Ugh, I’m done now. Not wasting my time on “opinion” articles any more. I want neutral facts. I really do hope you meet some of the good ones here. Maybe we can then get the positive review we deserve?

          • Garth Theunissen says:

            You never knew there was an opinion option on a news site? Ever heard of the term `columnist’?

          • Chris Venter says:

            Actually, I have, but I haven’t really had the chance to learn much about what columnists do.. So you are sort of like my first impression unfortunately. You make it seem so.. pointless. Which I’m sure is not the case. Do you get paid to write articles like this? If so, where do I sign on? Cause I have loads of (unwanted) opinions of my own. It looks easy enough. I work with writers for a living and I know quite a few who would also do a good job at giving opinions. Where are the days when columnists had some wisdom to offer instead of playing the blame game? You just give columnists a bad name with your poorly researched article and your generalisation. And yes, it does count as generalisation. Even if you meant well, you can not replace one bad characteristic with another bad characteristic and called it defending us. plain and simple.

          • Garth Theunissen says:

            Actually Chris, I get paid to write the articles that appear in our magazine. The opinion pieces are so fun I do them for free

          • You never knew there was an opinion option on a news site? Ever heard of the term `columnist’?

        • This is exactly what Garth is about ‘your city’ how dare you. I lived their for thirteen miserable lonely years and believe me Capetonians suck. I paid my taxes the same as anyone else but 5 years came and went and I was still not married to the mountain. The only friends I ever made were people from other SA cities and towns, honestly the lonliest days of my life. Capetonians are arrogant and judgmental. I could never understand though how a community could be so different from the rest of South Africa. I eventually moved to Prince Albert seven years ago and realized that real people do still exist and the only stuck up people in PA are the ex-Capetonians

          • Chris Venter says:

            Mike, I am sorry for your bad and lonely experience here. You should have moved away earlier then. You’re understanding me wrong here, I am defnitely not rich, nor do I hang out at Camps bay or the Southern suburbs, because yes, those people can be too much. Even for fellow capetonians. My argument is about the fact that not all white capetonians are like that. It saddens me that the good ones are being ignored in this article, We are basicly summed up as either being racist or douche bags. If there was an article stating this of people in Prince Albert would you not also react this way when you know this to be incorrect? When I say “my city” I mean this is the place I was born and grew up. I definitely don’t mean that this is my city and no one else has the right to live here. I’m not like that. I am merely defending its honour. Whereas Garth is coming with the same intentions but ends up creating a new stereotype about every single white person in Cape Town. That’s it. That’s what I am against. There is truth in his words, yes. But it’s not the whole truth. I already have to apologize in life for being white. I already have to apologize for being Afrikaans. I already have to apologize for being a Christian. Sometimes I even have to apologize being a male. I am not going to apologize for being a white Capetonian.

          • Hi Chris

            You really do sound very un-captonian. But if we met and the conversation went like we must have dinner or we must meet for drinks and I said give me a date and a time would you say fantastic! and arrange a time and a date on the spot, or would you perhaps say I will have to look at my diary or I will phone you. And then never hear from you again, unless my name was Openheimer or somebody equally important. I met a person when I arrived in Cape Town all those years ago on New years eve. We had lots of fun and then started what thought was a good friendship a few days later this person and I were having lunch together and she received a phone call. After the call was finished she said that she and a few friends were going out on the town. I said wonderful where are we going. Her reply was, no! these are my Cape town friends and you just woudn’t fit in .
            That was the begining of a rollercoaster of many events very similar event over the years ;that would leave me in the end, quite devastated about where I lived. You say why didn’t I leave sooner. Well it is expensive to relocate and I really gave Cape Town a chance and had to spend 4 years at university as well so I couldn’t just get up and leave, I also met a wonderful person there …from UK. But now that I have managed to relocate to a very Afrikaans and human area of the world I am very happy and wish never to live in Cape Town again. —– Original Message —–
            From: Disqus
            To: mjbupton@absamail.co.za
            Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 2:49 PM
            Subject: [fintalk] Re: Opinion: Capetonians aren’t racist. They’re just douche bags.

            Chris Venter wrote, in response to mike:

            Mike, I am sorry for your bad and lonely experience here. You should have moved away earlier then. You’re understanding me wrong here, I am defnitely not rich, nor do I hang out at Camps bay or the Southern suburbs, because yes, those people can be too much. Even for fellow capetonians. My argument is about the fact that not all white capetonians are like that. It saddens me that the good ones are being ignored in this article, We are basicly summed up as either being racist or douche bags. If there was an article stating this of people in Prince Albert would you not also react this way when you know this to be incorrect? When I say “my city” I mean this is the place I was born and grew up. I definitely don’t mean that this is my city and no one else has the right to live here. I’m not like that. I am merely defending its honour. Whereas Garth is coming with the same intentions but ends up creating a new stereotype about every single white person in Cape Town. That’s it. That’s what I am against. There is truth in his words, yes. But it’s not the whole truth. I already have to apologize in life for being white. I already have to apologize for being Afrikaans. I already have to apologize for being a Christian. Sometimes I even have to apologize being a male. I am not going to apologize for being a white Capetonian.
            Link to comment

  21. As a Capetonian, I was horrified at the title. Then I read the article. Hilarious. A little overplayed at times, but pretty much 100% on the money. And I am from Rondebosch… :) Currently I live in Durban. Just as cliquey but without the class.

    • raggatooth says:

      I am from Durban & I couldn’t agree with you more! Durban is really small place with an inflated sense of self importance!

      • umhlanga boy says:

        No ways. Durban people are way more classy than Capetonians! Durban people have manners and carry themselves well. I think it’s the British influence on the city (thank god for that). As a Durbanite living in Cape Town, I am appalled at times by how these people carry themselves – snobbish, entitled, cold, vain, pretentious. I now understand why Britian wants nothing to do with the Euro! They all think they’re Paris fashion models here!

        Although Durban is not as cosmopolitan/fashionable/glitzy as Cape Town, it’s less openly/blatantly racist/classist.

        • raggatooth says:

          I suppose it is all relative to your point of perception. I lived in Durban for 5years, moved to London for 4years before moving back to Durban for another 4years. London is a MASSIVE place; people as a whole there don’t have an inflated sense of self importance. Durban is a really small place compared to even Cape Town. I am not talking about population mass here; I am talking about specific demographics without being racist. Granted I have never actually lived in Cape Town and don’t have any inclination to do so, I do live in Somerset West and did live in Stellenbosch and people around here are refreshingly genuine.

  22. Garth, you’re a douche bag. Don’t like Cape Town and the people in it – Leave. Oh and if you decide to stay, the Secret White Club meetings are every Friday under the bridge in town, at 8:00pm sharp.

  23. Garth, I’ve lived in Cape Town all my life. I’ve never heard of us being racist, any more than the people from the next town. I’ve never felt part of some club, whether it’s my school or town.

    The only thing I can’t say is utter shite in this article is that you spoke to some people, who happened to be douchebags, and who happened to be Capetonian. Maybe you should start looking at who you spend time with.

    But hey, I’m not going to be all up in your Sandton face here. Come on over to a braai at my house, or let’s do coffee. I assure you that you’ve had the wrong end of a number of sticks.

    PS: When you say you’re a Joburg boy in Long Street, people may think you do dirty work at the club called Joburg.

  24. I dunno, maybe you have bad breath? I’m from Jhb and once went to CT with “meet Sam Wilson” as one of the top things on my to-do list and she was lovely and we had a blast. She must have been hungover that day Garth.

  25. Nqobizwe Ngubane says:

    maybe this labelling, Cape Townians, Joburgers, Blacks, Whites, Rich, Poor etc. is the worst approach to making conclusions about places and people inhabiting them. I understand its a generalization, but its still the worst way to deal with things. It makes it like people of the same race, culture, class, location, etc are similar in every respect, which is not true. This is proved by the fact that different people have different views of Cape Town, Joburg, Blacks, Whites, etc. somehow an opinion on the entire Western Cape, and different people in the area is concluded from the few people one has engaged with, which is not the majority of the people to begin with. My point is, while there might be a lot of similarities, both good and bad, people might share because of race, class, location, etc, they remain very much different and should be judged individually. Yes, stereotyping is quicker and simpler, but that maybe should just serve as a guide to what to expect from people, one to fall off as soon as a person has proven who he/she solely is.

  26. as a ‘non-Capetonian’ living in Cape Town, this has to be one of the best articles I’ve read on the nauseating behaviour of many of my neighbours. All my friends in Cape Town are not from ‘Cape Town’ (i.e. anglophone Southern suburbers). Do yourself a huge favour: learn isiXhosa and go hang out in Gugs. The most awesome and down to earth people you’ll ever meet. And you can skinner with the house-help next time you go to Rondebosch and drink sauvignon whatever. Nothing irritates white Capetonians more than gossip they can’t understand.

  27. Capetonians are like this. Eastern Capies are like that. Free Staters are like this. Children are like that. Sausage dogs are like the other. Indians are like that. Catholics are like this. Labels, really, are useless definers of anything other than the speaker’s / writer’s own psyche.

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