EnglishShow more Special senses of English play to imitate, pretend, act.
1.transitive and intransitive.to play for white, to play white, less frequently to play coloured. Especially under apartheid: to cross the colour bar by passing oneself off as a member of the white (or ‘coloured’) group.
1952Manuel & Van de Haer inDrum Aug. 6It is the almost-white who, strangely enough, hates the Coloured and the Africans with a greater vehemence than the rabid racialists. It is these people who ‘play white’ who have added yet another problem to the already complicated colour problem of the country.
1952Manuel & Van de Haer inDrum Aug. 7In the Platteland dorps playing white is the easiest thing in the world if you have the slightest suspicion of a fair complexion and your hair has most of the offensive kink missing.
1953‘Amperbaas’ inDrum Apr. 6Coming to Johannesburg from the Cape thirty years ago, I tried to find a job. There was none..for a Coloured man. I didn’t think of playing white then.
1953G. Magwaza inDrum Dec. 42His friends say Dale is playing Coloured — materially, it pays an African to play Coloured.
1963K. MackenzieDragon to Kill 103It is a well known ploy: if you want to play white, you make your mother into your maid.
1974A.P. BrinkLooking on Darkness 109I’m not trying to play for white, Ma. I only want to be an actor. I don’t care about the rest.
1983N. Mkele inStar 10 Sept. 27There are..any number of Africans who play coloured because of the benefits that flow from being coloured...To escape the..effects of these colour bars, coloureds have evolved the schizophrenic phenomenon called ‘playing white’ by those..who are fair-skinned and blue-eyed enough to merge with the white group.
1988E. MphahleleRenewal Time 96The white people who governed the country had long been worried about the large numbers of coloured Africans who were fair enough to want to play white, and of Africans who were fair enough to want to try for ‘coloured’.
1973Sunday Times 9 Dec. (Mag. Sect.) 10The horrible phrase, ‘playing sport’ of which I am sorry to say some of our best newspapers are guilty. One can play cricket, rugby, tiddly-winks, or the piano; but what of other sports like yachting, motor-racing.., mountaineering, even huntin’ and fishin’? How can one possibly play athletics, for example?
1976Fair Lady 21 July 163I had polio when I was a child and..I couldn’t play sport.
1987C. Cleary inStar 24 Oct. (Weekend) 8We played a lot of sport and attended church organised socials.
Unfortunately you are using a browser that is either outdated or not supported.
To view the content of dsae.co.za with full functionality, please use the latest version of one of the browsers hyperlinked below.