Shades of the Same Skin: Donovan Beukes


Introducing Donovan Beukes

From: Cape Town, South Africa

Currently resides: Côte D’Amor, France

I was born, raised and educated in the last two decades of Apartheid at the most southern tip of the African continent, in the city of Cape Town, South Africa.

As a ‘child of colour’ from mixed race heritage and a great-grandfather who was German, my family and I, along with millions of others from mixed race heritage, were lawfully identified as ‘coloured’ and the same for black people from a tribal cultural background and Indian people.

 This meant that ‘non-whites’ could not choose where to live or even go to a beach of their choice around our beautiful coastline.

 Despite being made invisible and made to feel as a lesser member of South African society by a divisive and racist government, I grew up in a loving Christian family home. I was given the confidence by them to achieve anything I wanted to through the power of Education and ultimately studied to be a teacher of English and Geography, which was how I ended up living in the UK in 1999, which was a memorable culture shock of depressing grey clouds and a stiff upper lip society, where foreigners were mistrusted and curiously observed.

 Childhood memories include trips to the beaches around the Cape Peninsula, train journeys to the South Coast and a summer Christmas table of cold meats, mixed seafood and salads. I was also introduced to traditional Malay cuisine from our Muslim neighbours.

 In the shadow of majestic Table Mountain standing guard over Cape Town, dreams were forged, dented and repaired. The cultures, languages and people shaped my individuality and prepared me for the global village I am proud to be part of, which now permeates into my writing.

 Don’s page:

Rainbow Child

 Growing up in the early seventies in Cape Town, South Africa, I had no clue that I was racially identified as coloured by the government in power and certainly did not identify myself as anything but what I felt inside of me emotionally.

 The love of my family and the caring environment I existed in shaped my self-image and my own understanding of the world around me. I must unashamedly admit to you that I was hopelessly spoilt by my mother and my two older sisters, Ruth and Joan, who inspired me with their endless joy for life.

 My earliest memories of feeling ‘other’ than what I was used to, was when I went on my first train trip into the city for a day out. I just could not understand why I was unable to play with the kids who were lighter than me in the next carriage. My questions fell on deaf ears. Later in my first restaurant experience, I asked my sister why the waitress just threw our utensils on the table and spoke so rudely to us. She just insisted I eat my seafood platter. I only noticed when we returned to the central station that all the whites went a different way.

It was only in high school on my first seaside holiday that I experienced public racism.

 We camped in a ‘coloured’ only resort in Struisbaai on the south coast. One morning my cousins decided to venture along the bay to the whites only resort, we were met by disdainful suspicious eyes glaring at our daring excursion and prevented to go any further by burly policemen and an old lady shaking her fists at us.

  The scene was so bizarre we burst out laughing and shouted back in Afrikaans with our own expletives.

City of Good Hope

Rising from the tip of

a mighty continent

centurion defender and

surely divine sent –

Tafelberg still guards

over Cape Town city

our mother city

of good hope

millenia old lashed by

Atlantic raging forces

Poseidon’s watery fortress –

Liquid contortions

colonial misfortunes

shaming Khoi daughters –

European invasion

natural beauty sensation

Dutch fortification linguistic

raping – Forced cultural reaping

shaping subsequent generational

hating – New permanent order

insatiable new world greed leading to

cultural murder – A new nation forged

from forced integration

lucrative marine ocean basket

hiding the colonial cocooned casket –

Mother City of four hundred years

still harbouring underlying familiar fears

A new democratic political order

shunning old racist fodder

citizens apparently united despite

current discontent sighted –

A city pulsating

existing opportunities inciting

heroes in the making – Its heart

still unknown

new generational groan

still battling to culturally cope

in our mother city of good hope.

Tafelberg – Afrikaans (One of 11 official South African languages) for Table Mountain, the iconic new Natural Wonder of the world rising over 1000 m above the city of Cape Town

Khoi – Original beach-dwelling tribe who met the first Dutch colonists in 1652 when Jan Van Riebeeck set up a fort as a stop-over for voyagers along the spice route to the far east


 Charmaine’s Cape Tomato Bredie (Stew)


1 large onion (peeled and chopped)

800 gram lamb or mutton pieces

2 stick cinnamon

4 fresh tomatoes

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

500 gram garlic and basil pasta sauce

4 – 5 potatoes (cut in equal pieces of 4 depending on the size of each potato)

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon bicarb of soda

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

basmati rice or couscous

750 ml water (to cover onions and meat)

500 ml water (to cover the rest of the cooking)

Optional ingredients: alternative sauce containing garlic and basil as main ingredients (if pasta sauce not available) fresh mixed herbs




  • Place chopped onion and meat into pot and cover with 750ml water. Bring to boil for 45 minutes.
  • Do not let pot get dry. Add more water if it does.
  • Add chopped tomatoes with 500 ml water and cook until meat is soft.
  • Add crushed garlic, mixed herbs and potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft.
  • Add pasta sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add bicarb of soda and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Serve with basmati rice or couscous.


Shades of the Same Skin Cover Shades of the Same Skin is an anthology of culture. The world is in need of a vigorous seasoning and it is why the poets in this book are willing to share their ethnicity. Each one will give some insight into their culture, music, clothing, food, traditions, and even share a few recipes. Some will engage in unique stories and folklore. Others will take us back to their childhood days and compare it to the experience of children today. A few will even welcome us into their homes to share items from their heritage.

This is also a book of unity. Its purpose is to show that without diversity, the world would be a boring place. Each poet in this anthology has a unique style because of where they came from, their experiences, and who they are. Their words are printed on these pages to inspire why we belong. We are all vital ingredients for the recipe to keep the world stirring.

Shades of the Same Skin is Available at the following Retailers:

Create Space:


Creative Talents Unleashed:

100% of all proceeds from this book are being donated to the “Starving Artist Fund” to assist writers in becoming published authors. Purchasing this book can help a writer become a published author!

Categories: Anthology

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4 replies

  1. Many thanks to Raja, Donna and the team for guiding me to this…my debut Anthology publication. A truly unique, up close&personal and global experience!Welcome to my world.



  1. Shades of the Same Skin: Donovan Beukes | The South African Poet¤Die Suid-Afrikaanse Digter aka SalamanDer

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