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I love that you post so often. Other people have babies and then you never hear from them again. Keep up the good work!

South Africa, though a beautiful country, but Johannesburg is something to beware of. While visiting in Cape Town, I was mugged at knifepoint. Very scary, but luckily I wasn't hurt. I very much want to know how you, Tertia, live with it, and to what exent do your precautions go. I am loving your writing, Tertia, and your babies are adorable! Definitely gorgeous and divine.

You don't hear "colored" much in the US. It's an outdated word and considered offensive to most people.

You know there are two things I can count on every day.. One is that the youngest child is going to melt several times that day, and that Tertia will have a new post waiting for me to read. :)

Please keep posting about S.A. I love reading about your country. I love reading your writing period.. hell post a damn shopping list and I will be happy.

Have you read "Cry, the Beloved Country"? If so: is it accurate? Do you recommend everyone who hasn't read it go out and do so right now? Because I do, if only because it's a really great book.

I love biltong! My father visited SA once and brought some back for me. It beats American beef jerky by a mile.

Just as Princess K said, "coloured" is very outdated and would probably get a civil suit handed to you on a platter. Most say black or African American and they would be highly offended at hearing it.

Many races have to walk on the proverbial thin ice for fear of offending another person. The United States is a country that is OBSESSED with being "Politically Correct". I have to admit that I am too. I don't want to hurt someone's feelings by trying to figure out what ethnic decent they are of.

So everyone is just addressed as "Yes ma'am" or "Yes sir" to me...hehe Its much safer and way more polite.

The food sounds intriguing and so does your family. You both have such a long standing heritage and I think its wonderful for you both to have pride in it. Same goes for the entire region of SA.

Thank you for sharing!

I found an exchange with a man of color very funny. He said that he didn't like being called colored because he wasn't blue or pink or yellow. He said he didn't like being called African-American because he wasn't from Africa he was an American. He said, I'm black. You are peach or somethin' but I call you white. You got a problem with that?

It becomes sensitive to try to define racial groups so I avoid it whenever possible. People are people with their own distinct likes/dislikes and beliefs.

I would love some of that dried meat! One of my favorites here something called a slim jim. It's a greasy stick of processed meat and it's not very good for you.

BTW, my mom makes homemade pesto from the basil in her garden and it is deeeeevine! I'll send you the recipe if you want.

Yeah, colored is a poor choice here.

I think African-American derived out of a want to recognize that the black people in this country were originally from somewhere else. To recognize their heritage. Both by them and by others.

It is like a lot of other denotations of race, Italian-American, Asian-American, even Native American (though that is going by the wayside for a lot of folks for the term American Indian - all depends on who you ask.)

It is interesting to me how terms come to mean one thing one place and something else entirely elsewhere.

I am loving this "series" on SA! (I never comment and this post has made me want to)

Your babies are beautiful as always, and serve as inspiration for me on a regular basis. :-)

I, too, love that you post often! And I love reading your take on SA.

I don't understand why if "colored" is unacceptable and associated with racism, "women/men of color" is acceptable and associated with ethnic pride. Makes no sense. Help me.

"Black" used to be worn proudly, but now "African-American" is in, which is pretty silly, since there are a number of "black" people who never came from Africa.

I've heard "brown people" being used--not even sure who that is supposed to refer to, but I think it's considered cool as terms go.

I give up, basically. Kind of tired of the PC stuff, and various ethnic groups can't even agree anyway on what they want to be called. Maybe we should just go back to Caucasian and Negro, or black and white. Eventually, AA will develop a negative meaning too when fads change, and then we'll have to think of a new word.

Hmmm, maybe I don't want to be white anymore--maybe I'll be a British Colonialist American, or BCA for short.

Most Americans are very proud of their ethnic origins, hence the Italian-American, Irish-American, Polish-American etc. I would guess that the African-American 'thing' started as a way for those of African ancestry to show pride in their roots. I would say probably 99% of blacks in America have no idea as to their actual origins in Africa due to the slave trade, so African-American is a way of having some sort of ethnic identification.
My mother often tells a story from when I was about 4 YO. She and I were on a bus and I wouldn't stop looking at a black man. She tried scolding me but I wouldn't stop. Eventually I spoke up and said, "Mommy, why do they call them black people? They're not black, they're brown. And we're not white, we're pink! I'll show you my crayons!" The whole bus lost it laughing, and the man told me, "You're right, it's not black and white, it's brown and pink."

I'm originally from Cape Town, but now live in Michigan. Capetonians also love anything flavored with curry, and calamari is pretty much guaranteed to be on the menu at any restaurant. The curry influence is from the Malaysian people. (The latest edition of Cooking Light magazine has a Cape Curry recipe.) Chutney is also very popular and usually made from peaches. Mrs. Balls Chutney is a staple brand in South Africa.

It is illegal to bring biltong back to the States. Customs will specifically ask if you have biltong because of the concern of spreading foot and mouth disease.

Rooibos("red bush") tea is also typically South African and now available in the States. Loads of South Africans allow their young children to drink rooibos because it doesn't contain any stimulants. Supposedly it is good for colic.

I really love reading about SA. Thanks!

I've been looking at applying to the Peace Corps and working in S.A. after I graduate. Do you have any thoughts on Americans working in S.A.? Have you heard any good or bad stories about volunteers? It sounds like a beautiful place and I'm so excited to hear your perspective on it. Additionally, you have gorgeous and divine babies.

wessel: You said, "I don't understand why if "colored" is unacceptable and associated with racism, "women/men of color" is acceptable and associated with ethnic pride."

I have always been taught that the phrase "colored people" puts the fact that they are some non-white race above the fact that they are people. "Person of color" acknowledges that they are a person first. Same with "handicapped person" vs. "person with a disability". It seems like a small thing, but it matters to a lot of people.

Language is power and black people in America have struggled around the self-naming issue for a long time, going from names placed upon them by others who had power over them, to names that they embraced or created to define themselves: colored, negro, Negro, black, Black, African American, person of African descent, person of color, etc..... There is no consensus on these names, no "Race Ministry" out there that decides what is acceptable or not. (A few blacks even have redefined racial slurs and call themselves n*ggas. Just like "dyke" and "bytch" have been redefined by some feminists and lesbians. These "rehabilitated" terms continue to be the most heavily debated, ie. they are considered highly offensive by people who belong to the group in question as well as others.)

That said, and from my vantage point as a historian of race in the US, most black people call themselves black, perhaps not exclusively, but it is the term with the widest acceptance. African American is more popular among middle class, academic circles, formal media, scholarly books, Afrocentric thinkers etc. It is a more specific term, in that it connects to American heritage. So, if you see a group of 8 self-identified "black" people in the US, there might be 3 African Americans, 2 Haitians, 1 Caribbean American, and 2 Dominicans there, if that makes sense. If you see 8 self-identified African Americans, they've most likely been born and raised in the US. African American connotes nationality while black is more global and based on consciousness more so than skin color. (i.e. there was a "black consciousness" movement among coloureds in South African, aborigines in Australia, Dalits in India, etc.)

African American was a term that arose in the 1960 and 70s to acknowledge the African heritage of most black people in America. It arose in the wake of the civil rights and black power movement and African Americans increased global involvement and connection to an African continent which-- from the mid 1950s-- was increasingly independent and a source of political mobilization and inspiration. That said, the African part of African American is not an additive national identity (i.e. African + American). It is a political signifier of a heritage that was broken through slave trade and oppression, but still survived through cultural remains. Few know where in Africa they came from, but they claim the continent, if that makes sense. People of color is a less popular term used to designate people who are "non white"--it is a term that argues that discrimination has forged links between between blacks, Latinos, Asians etc. It is generally not used in the singular as a descriptor: I am a "person of color." It is controversial because all people of color don't necessarily face the same kind of barriers--Asians, for example, have long been seen as "model minorities."

So all of this to say that its not just some notion of PC that makes it difficult to figure these things out. These words have muddled histories, different implications based on context, they connote class status, education level, they are "ok" in some contexts and "not ok" in others, "ok" and normal in one historical time period, offensive in another etc, etc.

While generally, colored and Negro are seen as outdated and offensive in this time period, some organizations still exist that were founded when they were still accepted usage: United Negro College Fund, National Association of Colored People, etc.

Glad to put on my historian's hat on your blog, Tertia. I envied all the biology types who got to wear thier hats on the nature v. nurture debate.

P.s.: On the crime issue, it is certainly a real concern. However, a friend of mine who is a political scientist and studies SA recently pointed out that new data has shown that crime is declining in South Africa. Corruption levels are now lower than within the US!

I just wanted to put this out there, because this was certainly not my perception from reading SA newspapers but it is an encouraging and underreported sign for the power of reconsiliation.

I love hearing about SA. It's amazing. I also love that you post so often. I get on line to read your blog every day because of course you are so divine and gorgeous! :)

Will your children speak Afrikaans as well? I ask because

as the Australian child of a Russian, Italian man, I never knew his culture and my ancestory via his language. Had he spoken those languages as I grew up, my heritage would be part of who I am, rather than something I've had to learn.

That was such an awesome post. I read your blog all the time and *know* so much about you, which sounds really weird as I *say* it out loud, but I swear I'm not a freak. This post really filled me on on a lot of stuff I know nothing about, i.e. South Africa.

Colored is not good - anymore. It was once considered normal, before segregation, I'd say. Long history here with this, dontcha know, and not all that easy to discuss for a lot of people.

I work for a newspaper as a copy editor, which uses Associated Press style (of course) and it's the style policy to say black - not African American.

But otherwise it's a personal choice for the individual - and in America you can pretty much call yourself whatever you want - unless you're filling out a form.

Then you have to basically narrow yourself into some small hole. I'm caucasian, which I think is pretty darn stupid.

But whatever.

Ok, what is an Afrikan? I understand your descent is British? Although how do you have a Dutch passport? And I thought British people like mushy, bland meat and veggies. That's what all the food in England was like when I was there (breakfast was the ONLY decent meal I had). So from where come the Afrikans?

Wow, T. You've got your work cut out for you here.

People in the US don't tend to know a lot about world history!

What is an Afrikan? I too thought it was the other way around? And have you ever been to America? And if so where? and what did you think of it?

It actually sounds a lot like living in the Southern U.S. (which makes sense, what with our strong African influence). Throw in some gross recipes using carbonated beverages and you could be at my grandmother's house.

There actually is a strong voodoo (fear of the supernatural) culture in the South, as well. I wonder if that is an island influence, or if that came from Africa?

P.S. - South Africa has THE COOLEST FLAG EVER! That alone is reason enough to live there...
yeah that and all the beautiful scenery and wildlife, minor details

The Afrikaans are dutch. The British came after the boers, and came to power, thus sparking the Boer War. Afrikaans speak a Dutch dialect.

Just wanted to say thanks for all your info on SA. It is good to remember that there is a world out there :)

I too am enjoying learning about SA. I love the USA, and would never want to live anywhere else, but we are so-o-o egocentric! I barely remember learning any world history in school, but had to learn plenty of American history. I think that is pretty common here. Of course, we're the same nation who has cut art and music out of our schools, but sports get to stay. I wish I would have learned more history now.

Dude, I'd love to learn me some Zulu.

I think it's wonderful that your kids will be exposed to so many languages so young. What a gift that is. And an advantage at school :)

I find the whole "African-American" term to be sort of questionable as well, especially since I'm black but my heritage is from the Caribbean. Yes, yes, of course we originally came from Africa, but my ancestors were Caribbean slaves, not American ones, so the culture and the terminology don't really apply to me.


I love your name. Is it a family name, or are you actually the third daughter of your family, or did your parents just like it? My husband is reading Latin for Dummies and it has a whole section on female Roman names. Apparently, the third daughter was often called Tertia.

Just curious!



Popular in the South?

Maybe in New Orleans ...

Regarding the whole "African-American" thing, there was recently a long wire article in the newspaper about the potential conflict on the term. Apparently, one of the largest and growing immigrant groups is the folks arriving to the U.S. from the various nations of the African continent.

So, if all blacks in the U.S. are called African-American, what are these new immigrants so recently departed from their African homelands?! Aren't these immigrants the true African-Americans?

Apparently many of them think the whole thing is humorous. It's something to think about, though.

Thanks for the info on SA!

I've always hated the lack of symetry with "African-American" vs. white. To call myself a "European-American" sounds jsut rediculous. Plus, I live on the Canadian border, so we have a lot of African-Canadians around here (although I've never heard anyone say that).

I've wondered if you are the fourth child (like tertiary, Tertia...?).

Re: "African-American"

A friend of mine who teaches college history classes finds that many of the college students now have been so trained to call black people African-American that they don't even stop to think about whether it makes sense. So they'll be talking about a black immigrant to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic and will call this person AA. Or, even more hilariously, they'll refer to a black citizen of an African country as AA.

We have a restaurant in my town (in the southern US) that serves SA foods and specializes in SA wines. The men who own it are from SA. I designed their website for them, and recognize many of the food items you mention. What I've tried there has been wonderful.

So my question is, are there no Asians in S.A.??? Or, the number is so very insignificant that it's not considered a "race"??

"I find it strange that black people in America are called African-Americans. They are not African, I am African. I find the use of ‘African’ to donate black strange. In my mind you are only ‘African’ if you are born in Africa?"


I don't know if someone already explained this, but in the melting pot we call the United States, basically all Americans (except for Native Americans) are from somewhere else, genetically/ethnically speaking. So we pride ourselves on being Irish Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans, Italian Americans, whatever. Most of us like to claim our ethnic heritage even if we know very little about what goes on in the country(ies) of our ancestors.

This is not the case with my husband, who is English both genetically and in terms of his nationality/citizenship.

Thank you for all the information about South Africa. It is a place I've always wanted to visit.

I actually have a distant cousin with the federally-sponsered news agency (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and she was the CBC correspondent to SA during the Apartheid years. She was there for about a decade, so I think she enjoyed it. She adopted both of her daughters while she was there.

If I ever called my inlaws 'colored' or Negro, I'd get my ass handed to me on a platter with the divorce papers. If we had children, they would not be colored even though they'd be 'mixed' black and white thus likely more light skinned than some Blacks. They would be bi-racial even though most people would likely see them as Black because of facial features or skin color. I've heard Latinos call themselves Brown, but I don't think Asians like being called yellow. It seems very confusing, but a lot of it has to do with socioeconomic status and subjugation of minorities by Whites throughout history. It's the perception of being 'less than' based on the terminology used to classify someone. I study Sociology and it very much ties into Ceanne's comments.

The food sounds interesting and I'll have to remember to ask my friend about it now that she's home from visiting there.

I'm curious to know what 'There are things in place to ensure language is protected here.' means? What things and how?

Thanks for posting this. It is so intriguing to read. Awesome. And the Babes are simply divine. I am smitten with them both, Adam is one of the cutest boys I have seen!

My father is from SA and our favorite thing as kids was the biltong that our SA relatives smuggled into the US. Biltong is the food of the gods.

Stumbled upon your blog recently, and I really appreciate getting to hear about what SA is like these days. I lived in Botswana in the early/mid-80s and visited South Africa a lot, but obviously that was at the height of apartheid, and things were very different then. I've longed to go back and see what it's like now. I really appreciate the picture you've drawn for us.

By the way, about considering yourself "African," I know what you're talking about. When we moved back to the States after several years in Africa, it would drive me nuts when people would wear "Africa" t-shirts and necklaces and whatnot, yet not actually be able to name any countries IN Africa (or better yet, thought the whole continent WAS a country). I mean, I now realize that a) it's the fault of our educational system and media that people don't know jack about Africa here, and b) that black people in the US have a right to claim Africa as their ancestry. But it still irks me.

Anyway, thanks for writing, I always love to read your posts. I hope you'll still get to write when you have to go back to work!

A blog buddy gave me the link to this since I made a post about the "African American" thing. I enjoyed this very much.

Have you ever had a look at Canadian culture? Sounds a fair bit like the dynamics of the SA way - with the French being culturally hypersensitive and protective of language and customs, the English speakers dominating the rest of the country, plus the First Nations, or 'Indians' as they're politically incorrectly referred to. Then there's folks like me, who are descended from both the English and the French and on the French side also contain First Nations blood (that combination referred to as Metis, with it's own culture and somewhat bloody history).

I never realized the similarities before.

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