I have now lived in America going on 8 years and I have to say a few of the questions I’ve been asked have put England to shame… some of them have been outrageous to the point that … well I really couldn’t help having some fun. I’ve also had a few instances where my english is grossly misinterpreted and caused a bit of embarrassing confusion, but thats for another post entirely.
Lets start with the most common, at least once a week kind of question…
“I just love your accent, are you Australian?” (never ask a South African if they’re Australian its like asking someone from Ireland if they’re English).
After a somewhat poignant “I must not react to said Australian comment” moment, I reply calmly that, no in fact I am from South Africa… and then it just goes down hill fast…
No. 1 Question: How can you be African if you’re white?
My Answer: Well in all honesty I went through something similar to Michael Jackson, years of skin pigmentation therapy and reconstruction. It was quite tedious but as you can see the results are pretty good no? Hey if you need a doc just let me know I’ll give you his number!
Question: I hear most of Africa doesn’t have running water, was it hard growing up like that?
My Answer: Honestly not too hard, we used to basically round up all the delinquents every morning to run to the river with heavy buckets to collect the water for the village. It works out quite well and they seem to behave a lot better after a few runs.
Question: What was it like growing up with elephants and lions on your doorstep, must’ve been cool right?
My Answer: Yup way cool… the elephants were handy for when ever we needed a ride to the mall, parking can be kind of crazy on the weekends… and the lions were great deterrents from the any mischief the delinquents were cooking up!
Question: Can you speak African? Say something for me…
My Answer: African? Um… I’m speaking it right now. If you’re understanding me you’re probably a descendent from Africa yourself!
Question: Do you guys get electricity?
My Answer: Remember those delinquents I mentioned earlier? Well our country is pretty hard on them, we invented a neat thing called the cycle-wheel and we get them all strapped onto the bicycles and peddling like mad to generate enough power when ever we wanted to watch a horror movie. Otherwise we just watch the tv in the dark…
Question: So South Africa is near Argentina right?
My Answer: Yup, it’s only separated by a few thousand miles of Atlantic ocean… but close enough. On a clear day we even wave to our friends on the other side.
Question: Wow! South African! Did you ever find a diamond in your garden???
My Answer: Plenty! On any given day while planting our crops we came across some sparkles in the dirt. That said we often have to be careful that they aren’t in fact fossilized hyena drool. Best way to check though is to lick it just to be sure. If it sparkles more you know you’re safe, if it starts to melt then you’ll have hyena breath for the rest of the day. Have you smelt hyena breath??? Puts morning breath to shame I’m telling you!
Question: Oh you’re from Cape Town, maybe you know my friend Fred in Cairo?
My Answer: Oh Fred! Most definitely, he sounds like he’s my brother from another mother. We back home have many brothers and sisters spread out over the whole continent!
and finally the second most common one…
Question: Bet it must’ve been amazing to go through your first drive-through!
My Answer: Totally! But so strange having to sit in a car like you guys do though, back home we just sit on our elephants. Way faster than the McDonalds over here too and don’t start me on Burger King!
Question: Um if you’re from Africa does that mean you have Aids?
My Answer: A moment of silence… Well auto correct keeps changing my nickname from Auds to Aids so if that is what you mean then yeah I totally do. If you’re meaning the disease, I don’t but millions of others do.
Question: Do y’all have airports in Africa?
My Answer: Well you know how the flights are so cheap? It’s because we have our very own version of flying. We strap the travelers to specially trained cheetahs, don them with Capes and let ’em fly. And don’t worry if you’re flying first class those capes come studded with diamonds, economy only has plain non animal print ones as we don’t want to distract the cheetahs too much. As for the airports they are more fermented grape juice watering holes for the travelers to replenish after um flying.
Enough said, though in real life I have played with Cheetah’s, had a Giraffe eat from my hand (it also licked me… but we won’t discuss it), walked amongst zebra’s, been close to a Rhino, had lions check me out, been chased by a hippo, gone great white shark diving and so much more that I won’t get into… 😀
Republished on SApeople.com an online magazine for South African expats around the world.