The great dog debate – What City Press staffers think

2012-12-30 10:01

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City Press staffers weigh in on President Jacob Zuma's comments that spending money to buy a dog and taking it to the vet and for walks, belonged to “white” culture.

Zuma should be lauded, not lashed

That President Jacob Zuma’s dog comments have caused such a stir baffles me.

The man should be lauded for unapologetically championing African culture and values in a time when it seems

black people aspire to be anything other than what they are.

Until when will Africans passively imbibe Western values and maintain their hegemony, and by so doing contributing to the demise of their own cultures, values and languages?

A casual observation of South Africa’s “dog relations” will reveal exactly what the president was alluding to – a lot of white people treat their beloved hounds more humanely than they do the average black person, especially one who is perceived as being inferior.

How else do you explain the abuse we all know farmer “Piet” rains on his workers; often using his “best friend’s” incisors to inflict some of his worst damage?

Remember De Doorns? Or a “madam” lavishing spa treatments, designer outfits, toys and the like on a Chihuahua – bordering on dog worship – when she fails to treat a maid who picks up after both she and Pookie humanely?

What the president was saying was that as Africans we place more value in people than what we could ever bestow on an animal, and rightly so.

Love your dog, by all means, but this nation could do much better if we all embraced ubuntu in its fullness.

What farmer “Piet” and others do is known in my language as ubunja – “dog-likeness” – and there’s nothing positive about that. They can chew on that for now.

– Anelisa Ngewu

Loving dogs is for the dogs

Let me say for the record, I never meant to love any dog. It just happened.

I grew up with them which, if President Jacob Zuma’s words are to be taken literally, is one of the by-products of being white.

When I was little and my new sister arrived, the family collie dog babysat me. Our successive dogs all lived long and became part of the family, although our fox terrier, who had a very public intimate episode with the golden spaniel next door, might have been disowned.

My parents instilled in us a strong belief in human rights, but also taught us to treat animal creatures and nature with love, care and respect. Still, I turned out to be more of a cat person with no pets of my own.

Recently I agreed to dogsit my parents’ boerboel and even walked him really early in the morning.

He’s a pain because he does nuclear farts, nibbles guests alive and hides in impossibly small spaces from thunder.

But he’s a great companion, a better deterrent than any burglar alarm, which means I have peace of mind knowing the occasional neighbourhood burglar would usually skip my parents’ home.

And he makes cute puppy faces when you’re down. I even hug him when nobody’s looking.

– Carien du Plessis

Excuse me, Mr President

The year 2012 wasn’t going to come to an end without the man from KwaDakudunuse having uttered what he’s known for – absolute nonsense.

This week he was quoted as having said: “Spending money on buying a dog, taking it to the vet and for walks belonged to white culture and was not the African way.”

But excuse our ignorance, Mister President: What exactly do you mean by “the African way”? To be more precise, whose African way are you talking about?

Whether some view it through colour or culture, the four-legged creature has always been a human being’s best friend.

Yes, not all darkies have the money to pamper dogs like their white counterparts. But the fact is, most darkies, especially those in the villages, will tell you they look after their dogs well because these carnivores can do anything from

being a shepherd, a guard and an understanding companion.

– Percy Moilwe and Daniel Mothowagae

We’ve always had dogs

At the yearly Phillies games in Tembisa, ending today, a young man with designs of being a “clever black” took his boerboel to the festive season football tournament.

The games attract more than 10?000 people and although the dog was on a leash, it slipped out of his control and bit a spectator, angering a section of the crowd, which assaulted the young man while the fate of his dog is still unclear.

I am certain his was an honest mistake, but he paid dearly for it. That’s the relationship many township folk have with dogs.

Our four-legged friends were part of the police armoury in the apartheid years, hence the largely adversarial attitude an elderly relative from Khayelitsha in Cape Town told me this week. He has half-a-dozen dogs.

If you’ve lived in the Wild Coast town of Port St Johns, then you may remember a period in the 1990s when rabies immunisation was offered for free at the sports field.

Many people would bring their dogs and it’s not an uncommon sight to see black people, almost always men, walking them at first or second beach or tagging along on fishing trips.

However, many black dog owners in Port St Johns use them mainly

for hunting and keeping their homes safe like my 83-year-old maternal grandmother, who at any given time has no less than three dogs.

– Loyiso Sidimba

Excuse me, Mr President

The year 2012 wasn’t going to come to an end without the man from KwaDakudunuse having uttered what he’s known for – absolute nonsense.
This week he was quoted as having said: “Spending money on buying a dog, taking it to the vet and for walks belonged to white culture and was not the African way.”
But excuse our ignorance, Mister President: What exactly do you mean by “the African way”? To be more precise, whose African way are you talking about?
Whether some view it through colour or culture, the four-legged creature has always been a human being’s best friend.
Yes, not all darkies have the money to pamper dogs like their white counterparts. But the fact is, most darkies, especially those in the villages, will tell you they look after their dogs well because these carnivores can do anything from being a shepherd, a guard and an understanding companion. – Percy Moilwe and Daniel Mothowagae

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