Only the right kind of Black

2013-05-02 16:20

I was gob-smacked and left in utter shock when during a conversation with some-one I considered a friend (and to be smart) blatantly told me I was the wrong kind of black! What? The is a right and wrong kind of black? Since when? These questions raced through my mind faster than Usain Bolt's best time on a 100m race.

As the inquisitive and “wrong kind of black” that my former friend identified me as, I kindly asked him to list me 3 top reasons which resulted in him arriving at this conclusion about my blackness. So as the good and thoughtful friend he was he pointed these “cons” as why I am not the right kind of black:
  1. White friends: According to my friend whom will call X, while it is 'acceptable' to mingle and hang out with white people, you must refrain from building long and lasting friendships with them. Reason for that is because while we may not be segregated anymore, it gets awkward when I have to meet some of his family members and vice versa. The language is different, your family must always accommodate the whitey by speaking English to him all the time while they don't bother to learn Xhosa to accommodate me. This he says shows that as the black I am always be on the receiving end (no pun intended) in this friendship.

  1. Girlfriends galore: “It is your culture to have more than one girlfriend” says X. This is non-negotiable as our forefathers did it before us so we must follow suit. Of course he provided examples to support his argument. Nelson Mandela was married three times, President Jacob Zuma has wives all because it is the “african” way of life. To this he say is not only your test of manhood but it defines what it means to be black. To end of he said “Black men need more than one woman, one cannot handle it alone.” So there black folks especially men if you dating one girl, you'd fail the test of blackness...

  1. Reading is for sissies: Any self respecting black worth his salt must stay away from books according to X. Not only do those who carry books with them on taxi's, trains or in public are bragging but think they 'clever' than the rest. You need to know what we good at and being a bookworm is not one of them. Why do you think libraries are in suburbs and not in locations he asks? This reading thing is not the African way as we learn how to do things as we go along. “Your book collection at home is probably just for you to impress your white friends and deny your cultural heritage,” was my favourite quote from X.

You cannot claim to be the right kind of black if any of the above mentioned points apply to you. I thought in this modern world while we may have the same complexion, people are individuals who make their own choices on what kind of life you they to live. Specific guidelines for genuine blackness are as surprising to me (apparently so was the Presidency) as the Gupta's using Waterkloof Air Base as their private airport to fly in wedding guests.

Silly me for thinking I have the right to choose my friends, acquaintances, knowledge and personality. It turns out I must now adhere to these guidelines for me to qualify as the Right kind of Black...

I left with one question with in mind “Why was I friends with this narrow minded idiot?”

You can catch me on Twitter as @BongaDlulane...

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