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Habib, Adam (2003) Conversation with a Nation: Race and Redress in South Africa. Centre for Civil Society : 1-15.

I am an upper middle class South African probably of Indian descent. I say probably because I really am unsure. And I suspect anyone who thinks they can define their ancestry with any degree of accuracy is deluding him or herself. Remember those scions of the political establishment in the 1980s whose grand myths of a pure Afrikaner ancestry were shattered by a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, H. F. Heese, whose genealogical study of the Coloured community demonstrated that their ancestral lines crossed racial boundaries to extend into both the slave communities of Africa, Malaysia and the Orient, and the Dutch settler population in the Cape of the 17th and 18th centuries. Who is to say that such mixed ancestry is not my inheritance. After all my ancestry of five generations ago lies at least in part on the Indian peninsula. But this is a peninsula that was host to a series of invasions and occupations throughout the centuries. Who is to say that during the Mogul occupation of the Indian sub-continent my ancestor, probably a women, was not raped by a Mogul soldier. And who is to say that a few centuries before that his ancestor was not a product of a beautiful love story between an Ottoman princess and a Mogul peasant. And since the Ottoman Empire served as a bridge to Europe, who is to say that my ancestral lines did not crisscross the continent and eventually settle in Spain. And who is to say that those same ancestral lines donít go back to the Arab World through Tarik bin Ziyad, the berber soldier who successfully conquered the Spanish peninsula under the crescent flag. And finally who is to say that my ancestry did not extend further to the African continent first through the Arabic slave trade and then through the subsequent migration from the hinterland to the Southern tip. After all have not the palentologists of the University of Witwatersrand demonstrated that Southern Africa is the cradle of all human civilization.

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