Yesterday, 15th of August, 2016, South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk broke the 400m world record to win Rio 2016 gold medal, but his victory was reduced to an ethnic debate on South African Twitter, prompting rapper AKA to make an interesting statement about his identity.
Wayde, according to the popular southern African ethnic label, is ‘coloured‘. This is a term used to describe people of mixed origin who possess ancestry from Europe, Asia, and even ethnic groups such as the Khoisan and Bantu.
The coloureds are also called ‘Bruin mense’.
And so, when the athlete Wayde made history, his victory was reduced into a coloured vs black debate and who should take credit for that milestone.
— Fettish (@Monthati_M) August 15, 2016
“Are Coloureds saying Wayde isn’t #BlackExcellence,” the rapper AKA hopped into the conversation, visibly upset. “First off let’s be proud that a SOUTH AFRICAN smashed the world record and claimed Gold representing our country.”
While AKA gave the Coloured Twitter credit for Wayde’s victory, he also noted that it is also #BlackExcellence. “To say Wayde’s victory does not fall under black excellence is equally ridiculous.”
In May of this year, AKA was described as the first ‘English rapper’ to go platinum in South Africa. Though he partly agreed with that, the boyfriend to Bonang Matheba lays claim to his South African identity in its entirety, refusing to be relegated only to one ethnic group because of ancestry.
“I have been told numerous times, especially here on Twitter that I am not “black” … Fortunately, it’s not up to “people” to say who I am,” AKA said yesterday, adding, “I identify 100% with being Coloured (in terms of upbringing and family) and at the same time consider myself “black” within that context.”
See his tweets: