Where are you from? ‘Playing White’ under Apartheid

by Celine Graber

My family did the unthinkable: after getting away with ‘playing white’ for some years, we went one step further and ‘jumped the colour line’.’ With these words the fascinating story of Ulla Dentlinger’s life history ‘Where are you from? Playing White under Apartheid’ begins. Growing up in poor, rural apartheid-Namibia in the early 1950s, Ulla Dentlinger soon learns that her parents are not prone to reminisce about their family’s past. Only in later years it dawns on her that she had to be a ‘Coloured’. The sense of conflict increases incrementally. Nonetheless, after living in Namibia for the first six years of her life, she grows up in a white area in Cape Town, goes to a white school and bears herself in a German fashion. She had, in fact, jumped the colour line.

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