SA doesn’t exactly have a shortage when it comes to bizarre and ridiculous stories, especially around issues of identity, specifically race. But very few beat the story that broke on Sunday that a DA member seeking inclusion in the party’s election list was asked to prove her race. South Africans of a certain age will have some memories of the arbitrary cruelty that characterised the worst of the apartheid years, from the notorious pencil test to stories of family members being separated because a difference in skin complexion saw them being designated as separate “races”, and were therefore required in terms of the Group Areas Act to reside in different areas based on their presumed ethnic background. So when that news report emerged, it would have come as a shock to those people. For that generation, one of the liberating things about the not-so-new SA is that their children are not subjected to the humiliation of carrying identity documents that assign them to a particular race. ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now