Doggone it! I'm white.

2012-12-27 14:47

Georgina Guedes

I have a dog; I am white. Until yesterday, the conjunction implied by the semicolon would have probably been "and", but now, according to my president, it's more like "because".

Yesterday President Zuma said in a speech in KwaZulu-Natal that spending money on buying a dog, taking it to the vet and for walks is not the African way, which is to focus on family. He said that black people who try to adopt the habits of other cultures would lose dignity and ubuntu and respect and love for their fellow human beings.

He went on to say that people who loved dogs more than people as "having a lack of humanity".

The argument itself is pretty silly. I love my dog, but not more than my family. Having a dog doesn't make it impossible to love your husband, mother or kids. In fact, I'd say that our dog augments our family unit, provides lessons in consideration and gentleness for our children, and gets us all out of the house for a nightly walk in the park, where we meet other dog-walking families.

The ridiculousness of the notion of dog owners' loss of humanity aside, what really gets me about Zuma's argument is this "it's not our culture" drum he's banging. Someone should establish a commission that decides on the point in the past at which culture should be frozen in stasis so that no one progresses or develops beyond that point.

Points to consider would have to include:
•    Driving a Mercedes Benz
•    Democracy
•    The use of condoms
•    "Just leaving a woman when she is ready"
•    Miniskirts
•    Houses in Houghton

I think that the commission would be hard pressed to find a common thread to justify the times that tradition and culture are disregarded and those when they are determinedly clung to, other than the whim of the president.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for the celebration of heritage and culture, but I believe that every culture and race should keep an open mind, and where opportunity for progress or improvement is presented, it should be embraced or at the very least considered. And actually, people should be able to do whatever the hell they want, as long as they’re not trampling on the rights of others.

If some white supremacist, pro-Apartheid, neo-Nazi freak had stood up and said that black people shouldn’t own dogs because it's not their culture, the people of South Africa would be up in arms. As a barometer, the people on Twitter (black and white) seem to think that Zuma's spouting nonsense.

So, if you're black and you want to own a dog, go ahead, I certainly won't judge you (not that it's up to me). And if you don’t, that’s fine too.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer, editor and trainer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


  • sudika.harkhu - 2012-12-27 15:33

    People will say what is convenient. Caring for a dog may be deemed Unafrican, but spending R200 millions plus on your homestead while millions live in shacks is ok.

      brian.exmachina - 2012-12-27 17:44

      Yeah, can't you just feel the spirit of ubuntu oozing from his mansion?

      Zamakulu - 2012-12-27 21:11

      Caring for dogs was practised by Africans, namely Egyptians, long before the so called Western culture existed.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-12-27 22:05

      So what do Zipper and his Zombies say about hospitals,literacy (even though he isn't) and refrigeration? How about banks and schools?

      brian.exmachina - 2012-12-27 23:52

      Zamakulu, evidence suggests widespread domestication of the dog everywhere that wolves naturally occurred. Russia, Eastern Asia, Germany and many other countries show evidence of domestication. Since wolves do not naturally occur in Africa some speculate that cats were domesticated by the Egyptians before dogs. It doesn't really matter. Point is your "Caring for dogs was practised by Africans, namely Egyptians, long before the so called Western culture existed" comment is inaccurate and your "so called" is uncalled for. Western culture provided a lot of what exists in the modern world whether you like it or not.

      Dirk.Snyman.001 - 2012-12-28 17:50

      BrianExmachina: If you want to tell Zamakulu his facts are incorrect, please check yours first. You said that "wolves do not naturally occur in Africa". This is not the case. The Ethiopian wolf occurs ONLY in Africa, and was described as long ago as the 13th century. Researchers from Oxford also discovered the hitherto unknown "African wolf" in 2010/2011 – this species is separate to both the Ethiopian wolf and the more familiar grey wolf of Europe. Just saying...

      george.frangs - 2013-01-05 10:49

      Exactly, it's just a tactic to take the heat off of himself. If Juju was still in the ANC, he would have let him loose. Besides, his last campaign slogan was 'Mshini 'Wam, so he's obviously testing his new one now...

  • auric.goldfinger.3720 - 2012-12-27 16:09

    erhm, I dont have a dog..does that make me african..just asking?

      stirer.kathray - 2012-12-27 17:25

      Aren't we all Africans - born in Africa and living in Africa? I'd also like to know, Is it ubuntu to screw your friends' daughters, when you have a whole batallion of wives for yourself? or is that the African way? Where does "dignity" come in?

  • colin.williams.5209 - 2012-12-27 16:34

    Different circus same ringmaster

  • prsmitza - 2012-12-27 16:38

    perhaps he should consider a shower and a cold one at that to wash away all the rubbish he is trying to instill in his own people. What does he want? should we all sit around a fire drinking sorghum beer form a clay pot? we are in the 21s century for heaven sakes. he must get a life. animals are the only thing is this life that loves you unconditionally no matter what you do.

  • julian.e.frost.1 - 2012-12-27 17:39

    "people who loved dogs more than people as "having a lack of humanity"." His argument is a total strawman. And it should be pointed out that being an animal lover and lover of your fellow humans is not exclusive. In fact, many serial killers got their start by torturing and killing animals.

  • gert.swart.393 - 2012-12-27 17:48

    Fortunately I am not White!

  • karen.lamb.9250 - 2012-12-27 17:54

    This says the guy who looks after our country.I love my dog very much, its a different kind of love than loving my wife or any human. He does not have respect for women, so why would he for animals. Go take a shower IDIOT!!!!

  • flysouth - 2012-12-27 18:29

    Dunning-Kruger syndrome on public view here!

  • trevor.leon.5 - 2012-12-27 19:20

    fetch bobo! fetch!

  • trevor.leon.5 - 2012-12-27 19:24

    hang on! doesn't sleeping with your bests friends daughter,your daughters best friend,all your wife's,plus your mistresses,doesn't that qualify you as a 'Houndog?"

  • annalene.nel - 2012-12-27 19:35

    kan hom uit die bos haal maar kan nie die bos uit hom haal....

  • roger.oxlee - 2012-12-27 19:37

    Does the colour of my dog matter?? If I am white with a black dog is that different to white with a white, brown or (horrors!) a multicoloured dog? (Different idea: perhaps a black dog could be given the honorary staus of an "UBUNTU dog", for blacks who want to own dogs!) We could re-introduce the pass laws for dogs depending on firstly their owners' race, secondly the colour of the dog. Blacks with the wrong-coloured dogs, or whites with the wrong-coloured dogs, or coloureds with black, white or multicoloured dogs wll need extra permits. We will need a new govt department to work out the permutations and how the permit system would work and be implemented, using the latest ID paw-paw technology. That is paw-paw as in ethnic KZN. I'm exhausted. I trust Zapiro will take over from here. In the spirit of Christmas, perhaps Ray McCauley suggested that our tribal president give Zapiro a Christmas present, just to test his ethnicity!

      monica.venter.75 - 2012-12-29 09:02


  • bonita.swartz.7 - 2012-12-27 20:32

    What an idiot Zuma is, I have never. I so agree with your article. Embarrassed for him on being doff. What are the rest of the World saying of this pathetic statement if we as South Africans are holding our heads in shame about having such an idiot running our country.

  • Willem Louw - 2012-12-27 20:37

    every time ourpresident opens his mouth, I loose a bit ore respect for him. I have horses, cata, dogs and children. My children have learned from and early age how to respect, take care of and commuicate with all creatures great and small. I don't think they are lesser beings for doing so. I would also like to point out like the author that many things are not African like Mercs, luxury houses etc. An dI think she is absolutely right: there should be a comission that determines where this proverbial line is. We cant allow some people in our country to do what they like and then hide behind the African culture facade. That includes issues like multiple wives....

  • madmountainza - 2012-12-27 22:00

    I think he's got it - I love my dog and I have lost respect for Zuma, one of my fellow men. Yep, you guessed it, I'm white. The problem I have with the statement is that it doesn't bring us any closer to finding out what Zuma's excuse is for losing respect and love for his fellow human beings (potential presidential wive's excluded).

  • - 2012-12-27 23:28

    Showerhead has a Standard-6. Don't expect more, just move on. PS. Love the Ubuntu of his mansion and tax-coffer pillage.

  • TheRealWitblitz - 2012-12-28 02:44

    Ironic. If he was true to African culture he would be wearing animal skin all day, beating on a drum, dancing around a fire, drinking traditional beer from a pot and sleeping in a mud hut in his kraal with all his wives. Why not do away with all the white man's inventions like civilisation.

      AndreC27 - 2012-12-31 06:56

      He is busy doing just that - see the deterioration of the infra-structure like schools, roads, hospitals, etc. Look at Zimbabwe - we are on the same road.

  • kevin.moxham.3 - 2012-12-28 03:20

    one can see the ANC has an identity crisis and this starts at the top - thier own freedom charter is at odds with thier current leaders thinking and actions. No wonder why the parties moral compass is in question...!!

  • younginhk - 2012-12-28 07:29

    His words were probably taken out of context by the media. If his message to black youth was to be proud of your culture. Thats great and he has a point that black youth are not protecting their culture. But to use whites as a comparison or afterthought is so random and not becoming of a countrys President. . If you want to start trashing other cultures then dont drink the blue label whiskey(white)in the private jet (white)that flew you to Durban. And dont get into the mercedes(white) in your Armani suit(white) to deliver your speech.

  • musa.kamashobane - 2012-12-28 07:38

    Georgina, don't you think it is stupid of a president of a country to pronounce himself so recklessly. It's generally known that his IQ is so low, unfortunately we have to leave with this hypocrisy for some time hey, sies man, someone help him to think and reason rationally please!

  • musa.kamashobane - 2012-12-28 07:41

    I hope Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin and other white ANC members are reading what their African president referencing

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-12-29 10:22

      Don't worry, they are so far up the anc a$$hole, they now think they are black.

      Klaus - 2012-12-30 13:44

      Tuner - what is there to see ??

  • braam.vantubbergh.3 - 2012-12-28 07:57

    By the looks of it Mr ZUMA do love the tax money whites with dogs are working for!

  • JNaMolefe - 2012-12-28 08:29

    Black people are very welcome to adopt their own dogs, ignore Zuma's nonsense... HE CANNOT CONTROL YOU, YOU CONTROL YOURSELF... always remember that we won't allow him to change us, we change what we need to.. :) OUR RIGHTS, NOT HIS RIGHTS... Those dogs are cute and sweet.... doesn't it bother you, Zuma?

  • Aubsz - 2012-12-28 10:32

    I have 3 dogs; I'm black. Screw u Zuma...

  • anton.grobbelaar.98 - 2012-12-28 12:33

    Maybe Zuma has a point. With all the street children around, it is time for parents to actually look after their kids before contemplating a pet. :P

  • katane - 2012-12-28 15:03

    I have 2 dogs that r great family members

  • katane - 2012-12-28 15:09

    I have 2 dogs that r great family members

  • erika.kirkbride - 2012-12-28 18:24

    Bravo, Georgina! The commission could also look at the plastic hair, the Scotch whiskey, the European designer suits etc...

  • Tuyez - 2012-12-28 21:34

    Shembe followers are not allowed to own dogs and ducks. Their religion forces them not to do so. I presume that Zuma is the follower of the Shembe Church. But that is not a culture it a choice that people make for their religion. But remember not all Zulu or Black people follow Shembe. I would say the followers of this church is very much minute among the Zulu tribe. The Zulus in rural area are generally hunters that means they keep dogs for hunting and they love their dogs as well. I also think that the presidents speech was not about dogs but he was warning people about some white brothers and sisters that would rather treat dog better than dogs, because they literaly dont see blacks as human being. Its not all white people who are like that but there is a minority of them who does that.

  • steve.adams.524 - 2012-12-29 07:01

    Have to agree with earlier comments - take it from whence it comes. Don't try to analyze everything the clown says. Now, if Cyril had said this...

  • Roulon du Toit - 2012-12-29 12:07

    I really wish that people could stop hiding behind the "it's my culture" curtain. Stuff cultures. I don't understand why everyone can't just go ahead and do what they want, as long as it is not to the detriment of others. You want to cut your hair but can't because of your antique culture? Go ahead. You want to wear certain types of clothing but your culture doesn't allow it? Go for it. Saying that you are following tradition or sticking to culture is sometimes just an excuse to not have to think for yourself. If you are picking up things that's not traditionally from your culture then it means you are growing. Even the strongest of cultural groups will be left behind if they don't adopt to current times. And, like the article's author points out, cultures are already using aspects from other cultures.

  • sean.coomer2 - 2012-12-29 16:00

    Feel like I should have a lot to say but I am lost for words at the lunacy. Had the opportunity to spend time in Thailand. The basic problem in S.A. is that all people (black and white) feel love there is some entitlement to things. People in Asia from what I've seen are forced to work hard for every cent. We are so busy fighting racial and political battles we lose sight of what is fundamentally important - ethics, morals and a good quality of life. Those doesn't mean that everyone deserves a five bedroom house and a brand new Mercedes and shares in every lucrative business in S.A. My point is this... we are so worried and complain about the government however it is us the people of S.A. who are responsible. Maybe it is time we start voting for a better quality of life and strive to be a happier nation who work hard and play hard and forget all notions that we are entitled to anything. Greed and moral decay has the country by its nuts.

      Tuyez - 2012-12-29 19:25

      Well said. Tired of racism and everytime time we hear people say this is black and that

      Tuyez - 2012-12-29 19:27

      That is white. Can we be just sout africans with no colour?

  • vernon12345 - 2012-12-29 23:13

    Zuma is a fool. The whole of South Africa knows this. Please people let's vote this tonsil out in the next elections

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-12-30 07:51

    It just goes to show how zumas brain functions . IT DOESN'T. There is no brain. Just wives, big houses and other things the whites invented. Go away Zuma and get bitten by a dog.

  • jason.hayden.503 - 2012-12-30 09:06

    One of the most important jobs the present is employed to do is address the nation on matters affecting the nation. Loss of culture is one of those ...I totally agree with him..the problem is that the way he addressed the nation..he only addressed one part of the nation at the expense of the rest of the nation. So much for the rainbow nation..

  • Flippncool - 2012-12-30 11:54

    Actually what Zipper Zoomer missed is that a dog can bring a family TOGETHER and promotes a bit of healthy outdoor time. Kids and folks take the dog for a walk, get fresh air, play in the park, throw the ball or fetch the stick, run and play. Methinks Zipperhead is showing (yet again) his loathing of the pale people.

  • Gert van Coller - 2012-12-30 23:32

    And what about us catowners Mr Z? I wonder where we fit in? Btw, my beautiful siamese cat has a lot more of a personality than our first citizen.

  • Kumkani Soketse - 2012-12-31 10:35

    dear georgina you are missing the point as the things you raised as the points for your commission includes 1. transport (forget about whether it is a mercedes) there is no culture that started transportation with a mercedes benz as transports used have always been developed from our feet to animals, machines etc. 2. democracy as voting some bureaucracy to rule has always been the way to go with mighty and wars as is still the case today 3. use of condom and living a woman at the cliff both these were used thru ukusoma (not penetrating) as part of culture. The domestication of animals has always been the culture of every society (dogs, cats, goats, cattle, sheep) now snakes, fishes etc as so-called pets are included on the list. However, sleeping with the dogs and having sex with them or loving them more than other humans is a suburb and urban cult that is developing more and now pervading throughout. This is what Zuma rubbished as dogs used was to protect and hunt and to sleep or have sex with them or love them more than humans. That part of culture has always been foreign.

      Kumkani Soketse - 2012-12-31 10:56

      sleeping and having sex with dogs is a foreign cult

      npriem - 2012-12-31 11:51

      To each his own I say! Everything is so black and white nowadays, as a COLOURED, I not only own but adore my dog, not just my dog but my family and friends and human beings as a whole regardless of race. Mr Zuma should take a page out of a dog or any pets book, they do not discrimate based on race, they love unconditionally. As for having sex with dogs is concerned, that is as taboo as raping a baby! It is not part of normal society or western culture. If that is his argument as you say, then he needs to be educated on the norms of society. I'm sure there are a lot of black people who are insulted by his statements, as a nation, it is beyond dissappointing.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-31 11:55

      KumkaniSoketse. Are you so dumb that you think white people who allow their dogs to sleep on their beds are having sex with them?. If this is what you think, you have a serious brain problem.

      Roulon du Toit - 2012-12-31 12:46

      Kumkani, what the hell are you talking about? Writing stupid comments is also a "foreign cult"

  • Kumkani Soketse - 2012-12-31 10:52

    To add from my earlier comments, the miniskirts are hiding more than what use to be used from not have anything at all to isigege, isidwaba enclosure as a child grows from being a teen, girl, women and wife of a husband. Houses, homestead have always been built regarded of the area. So your so-called Houghton, Sundown, Sundton were group areas intended to divide, rule and oppression. It is therefore a fallacy to suggest that building of houses or living in a particular area, developing modes of transport, domestication of animals, respect for women, dressing codes (isigcebezana, isigege, isidwaba, ingubo), governance or intando yabantu or democracy is a culture of whites. It is like saying because someone who may be white developed a lighter therefore he developed and invented or came with fire.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-31 11:56

      Kumkani Soketse, like I said before there is a serious brain problem at work here. You been out in the sun log?.

  • Kgomotso Mandaba Gen - 2012-12-31 13:15

    well whats next? to be told whom to be friend? wow we really have crucial and important matters to deal with than dogs and cats

  • felix.calitz - 2012-12-31 15:45

    Sadly the barking will have no bite; it's all in the misunderstood breeding.

  • ede.klerk.5 - 2013-01-01 07:20

    How sad that such a lovely country as ours and with so much going for it, should have a complete fool as a president. One with divisive (zero?) leadership abilities,an overdeveloped penis and a vacuum for a brain. How did we end up in this mess? Why do we tolerate this guy?

  • kgosi.meruti - 2013-01-02 10:24

    Zuma has gone all cuckooo!

  • george.frangs - 2013-01-05 11:14

    Its funny, that after his speech, he had to release his own hound in the form of spindoctor/lapdog Mac Maharaj, to put into "context" what he actually meant. Woof-woof...

  • pages:
  • 1