Department or Program



This thesis explores why Coloureds in Cape Town experience apartheid nostalgia. During the era of apartheid (1948 to the early 1990s) in South Africa, the Population Registration Act of 1950 classified Coloureds as individuals who were ‘not a white person or a native.’ Since Coloureds neither belonged to the white or Black populations, they occupied a marginalized position under the apartheid regime. This thesis examines how the construction of Coloured identity has shifted post-apartheid, why Coloured South Africans feel marginalized in post-apartheid South Africa, and how this perceived marginalization contributes to feelings of apartheid nostalgia. With the end of apartheid in 1994, Coloureds had to redefine their identity within the context of the ‘new South Africa,’ which sought to create a unified national identity. However, some Coloureds felt excluded from the nation-building process, particularly regarding economic and educational opportunities. Simultaneously, Coloureds grappled with questions of ‘who they really are’ beyond the apartheid classification ‘Coloured,’ with some yearning for the perceived ‘stability’ and ‘structure’ of the apartheid era. As Coloureds continue to feel excluded from the national discourse, feelings of apartheid nostalgia have taken hold. This thesis also engages with the role of memory in creating a cohesive post-apartheid ‘South African’ identity. It asks: How is memory and Coloured identity linked? How is memory exploited by the nation-building process? Is nostalgia an effective method to critique the current government? And how does the collective memory of the apartheid past inform the present and future?

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Aslan, Senem

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.