A sprint for the shore

2012-08-04 09:05

Why is it that blacks are so aquaphobic?

RT @PawnStar: Oh #MantwaRamotseki you beauty. Well done on the 200m butterfly gold. Now for the 400m relay on Monday. South African swimmers rock #London2012.

Don’t laugh. It is actually tragic that this fictitious tweet is not only fictitious, but to most of you reading it right now, it sounds implausible and literally out of this world.

In the scheme of conspiracy theories, a black person winning a gold medal in swimming is worse than accusing Saddam Hussein of amassing weapons of mass destruction.

I bet you most of us are more likely to believe rumours that the real Nelson Mandela died on Robben Island shortly after landing and the apartheid government unleashed a double on us to save face.

Years later, they had to serve under the fake Mandela.

At the time of writing this piece, South Africa had won three gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, all of them related to water. First it was Cameron van der Burgh followed by Chad le Clos, before the rowing crew claimed their own gold.

Okay, in fairness, the fourth fellow in our rowing team is black. But typically, for darkies to compete in water sports, they have to be above water, not inside and certainly not under water.

What is wrong with black people and water? I mean all blacks in the diaspora.

Black people run. We win running long distances and even sprinting. The fastest man in the world as we speak is Usain Bolt, a black Jamaican.

In fact, for as long as I remember, white men have always come after black men in the 100m distance. But we can’t produce even an average swimmer.

Even the terror that Adolf Hitler was unleashing on the Jews and the world did not stop Jesse Owens outsprinting the white people in the 1936 Berlin Games.

Look at those Africans from Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, etc. These perpetually hungry looking natives have survived repeated coups, wars, famine and bouts of colonialism in their respective countries to still dominate long-distance events across the world. But none of them swim.

We have produced Muhammad Ali, who was not only the greatest of his time, but still remains one of the best boxers the world has seen.

Tiger Woods has not only beaten a horde of white competitors in golf, but he went on to date and bed more waitresses than most of his opponents combined. A swimmer half as good? Never!

Do you remember Pele and a string of many other Brazilians who have come to be the pride of the black football world?

But Brazil, with all its wizardry, can’t fake even a Paralympic swimming champion.

We clearly have a problem with water. One can even start wondering if these black stars themselves do take the odd shower.

But I know where this comes from. Black people misunderstood the idiom “sink or swim”. All they heard was sink, and they ran fast from the nearest puddle of water.

No amount of independence, freedom to sleep with white people or even black economic empowerment has come even close to helping us transcend this fear of sinking.

Curiously, blacks have not made a connection between the ability to swim and avoiding sinking. And yet we have stood in front of armed soldiers and hurled stones, all in the name of freedom.

I wrote years ago that blacks can’t swim because of their fear of drowning.

My own mother once told me not to ever go to the local swimming pool because if “you drown, I will kill you”.

For the record, to black people, drowning is not death that results from submerging under water.

Drowning is simply consuming copious amounts of water while you try to get yourself out of a 2m-deep pool you fell into during a pool party.

You wonder why we actually love pool parties so much, when we fear “drowning” more than death itself.

When Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps on Tuesday, I observed on Twitter that if we used a South African swimmer to deliver school textbooks, the Limpopo saga would be under the bridge, in a manner of speaking, that is.

Up to today, my mother closes her eyes when she watches my son frolicking in the pool. Clearly, she just thinks of me as an irresponsible parent who is putting his own child at risk of drowning.

Let’s hope at the 2024 Games they will introduce waterless swimming for us.

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