I am unAfrican
December 27, 2012 § 30 Comments
I am unAfrican
I wrote this piece after president Zuma suggested that having dogs was unAfrican.
I owe my being to the whimpers, the tail waggings, the growls, the ball chasing, the tail chasing of the Poodles, the Chihuahuas, the Sausage dogs, the Bearded Collies, the Dalmatians, the Pugs and the ever differing barks of the unAfrican canines. My body has frozen at the sound of a sudden, unexpected bark disturbing a silent moment. My heart has thawed in the warmth of their tails wagging and melted at the sight of their excitement when they see me arrive at home after a long day. When I say I am filled with joy by these animals, I know no one dare challenge me when I say – I am unAfrican!
I am formed of the migrants who left Europe to find a new home on our native land to bring these unAfrican animals. In my home the names of dogs named Bhovas, Boxers, Lions, Tigers, Sporties, Rambos, Bobbies and countless other typical township dog names have been uttered by the names of my ancestors. My home has been protected and saved by these Bhovas, the Sporties and have also been companion, servant and best friend.
I know what it signifies when the blanket use of culture and what it means to a whole people to determine African and what is not. This has caused me to ask myself the question, ‘but did not humanity originate from Africa? Is everything that the world does then not African? And whose job is it to determine what is African and isn’t; and how do we decide what is African and what isn’t.
I am born of a people with weaves, bald heads, curly hair, dreadlocks, straightened hair, fake nails and those who carry their Chihuahuas in small bags. I am born of a people who never let their dogs in the house because they are almost more comfortable with it staying outside – guarding the home. I am born of a people who put on Revlon, Mac and Maybe she is born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.
I am born of a people who owned canines, wigs and partings on the side of their heads. Whatever their own actions, they remain still, part of me. I am unAfrican. Today it feels good to be unAfrican.
A picture by the great and now late Alf Kumalo. Mandela being playful with a dog.
This column was inspired by Thabo Mbeki’s very inspiring, “I am an African” speech before parliament when he was Nelson Mandela’s deputy. here is the link to the speech http://khayadlanga.com/2009/06/18/i-am-an-african-thabo-mbekis-speech-possibly-the-greatest-african-speech-ever/