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Race & Social Identity

             In a country set deeply in racial classifications, of a society once socially engineered on the basis of race, it is beyond embarrassing as a scholar, a South African Muslim of Indian origin not to have explored the essence of identity; of social identity; racial identity; ethnic identity, amongst others in such analytical detail until now. More than understanding and critically engaging with relatively new concepts, this exercise has turned into autobiographical experience of discovery.
             The most interesting feature of this experience has been a significant re-thinking of my identity (as perceived by myself), yet it has involved understanding what identity actually meant at the same time. Moreover, I have taken a step back and pondered over my identity; my Indian history (known as our "rich Indian heritage"), the development of a deep affection for India moulded only through narratives, music, art and movies; my exposure yet (imagined?) intimidation in predominantly white ex-model C primary and secondary schools; the University experience- the primarily homogenous experience; the sudden development and transferral of affection towards "South Africa"; and most saliently, the birth of new "identifying criteria", the re-invention and substitution of one imagined concept over another: the continued "end of race debate".
             While I openly admit that my knowledge in this field is by far, limited and trivial, I have debated, on a purely common sense level, the intricacies of identity formation of third and fourth generation South Africans of Indian descent. My continuous perchant to understand my somewhat allegiance to India, may it be as a cricket supporter or as an avid Hindi movie and music enthusiast has often led to further confusion when attempting to comprehend on the other hand, other South Africans of Indian origin, absolute disregard for her and even embarrassment to be in association with her.

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