What ya lookin' at?
What ya lookin’ at?

You’ve heard me say it before – hear me roar. I’m a Lion! No. Not really. I’m a Zebra. White with some black stripes. Or is it black with some white stripes? It doesn’t matter. I am South African. I’m a bit of both. That’s the great thing about being from South Africa. You stand a damn good chance of having a bit of everybody in your family tree. I am damn proud of it. A bit of everybody. 100% pure South African. A little bit of everything. A buffet of blood running through my veins.

Now, like I said, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. And it isn’t. It works most of the time. For most of us. But sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. It doesn’t always work out all that well for me. My problem is that I got the short stick on both sides. The bits that’s bad is really bad. And the good bits are missing. Well, mostly. 

The problem is that sometimes I am way too white. So white it’s scary. In way too many ways. And not in any good way. Look at the music I listen to. Bruce-Bloody-Springsteen. Cold-Flippin-Play. Pearl-Damn-Jam. David-Hum-Grey. I mean really. Couldn’t I get some blood with a bit of beat in it? I even listen to Toto’s Africa when I miss home too much. Really. It’s so sad. Just plain sad.

Wait. The Toto song reminds me of that Castle Lager ad of the South Africans watching sport on the roof of a New York apartment. Drinking Castle Lager. That’s why I listen to Toto. Castle Lager. Hmm… Charles! Somewhat dry, somewhat bitter, never sweet.

Anyway… I am getting off topic.

I am so bloody white I was born with two left feet. I can’t dance to save my life. Really can’t. It’s not a pretty sight. I have seen grown men cry when watching me dance. And not for any good reasons. The pain it causes will leave an everlasting mark etched into your brain. You will wake up screaming in the middle of the night sweating and shouting, “Just don’t dance please! Just not that please!” I make Freddy Krueger look like the ideal prom date for any close dancing. Let’s just leave it at me not being a great dancer shall we? The white blood is strong when it comes to dancing. Too damn strong.

And to complete my whiteness? Singing. You don’t want to hear me sing. Really. It’s been banned under the Geneva Convention. I can peel lead paint off walls with one rendition of Roxanne. Or, as my lovely wife always says, when I go busking people pay me to shut the hell up! I think I might not be gifted with a strong voice.

But I can live with this part of my whiteness. I can bob my head up and down instead of dancing. Or in my case, look like someone who is really disagreeing with the person standing next to him. You know – with all that head shaking. Because I can’t even keep a head beat. And with an iPod on my side? I can listen to my music and no one will know that it’s some skinny white dude singing. Well. With the singing? No problem. I just follow my loving wife’s advice and shut the hell up. Or sing softly to myself while taking a shower. With the extractor fan on – full blast. Yes. I can hide the whiteness most of the time. At least the scary bits.

But now I am being hit with my bad black blood.

I got away with it in South Africa. I played soccer like a maniac and ate my putu with pride. I got away with it most of the time. Except for my dislike of the beach. Hated the sand sticking to my body. And the awful salty water. The sun baking while you are lying on a towel doing nothing. Nothing! And if God wanted me to swim he would have given me gills and webbed feet. The Big Four S’s of bad taste. Swimming, sand, sun and salt water. Don’t like it. It’s bad. And it makes me look even worse when standing on the beach squinting and spitting out sand.

But I got away for it for most of the time. Until I got to the US. It caught up with me. My bad black blood. Another “S”…


It looks nice. When it is mixed with a strawberry or two to make a daiquiri. Oh, wait. That’s way too white.

Snow. Nice to look at. Even nice to shovel. Almost. But when it comes to those sports. Man. Man, man, man. It’s not made for these legs and this blood. Talk about a frog in a blender. Just arms and legs everywhere. And a trail of blood following. That’s us Africans. Can’t do snow. Won’t do snow. It just ain’t on man. It’s meant to be a mix and not a sport.

And let us run out in the veldt. No problem. We can run for days. Or at least a minute or two. But snow. How the hell do you even walk in snow? With all those layers of clothes on? I look like the Abominable Snowman on steroids stuck in quicksand. The more I move my legs, the less I move forward. And I slowly sink away into the snow. Never to be seen again. Until summer when they find the lone body of an African with a permanent frown on his face. Bloody snow.

Yes. I am a Zebra. A little white and a little black. A little scary and a little bad. Just a shame I got the pieces all mixed up. But hey, that’s South Africa for you. That’s South Africans for you. We always get the pieces mixed up.

So why am I telling all of this now? In the middle of summer? Because I know that it is waiting for me. It’s coming – the snow. I can sit here and drink my daiquiri. But the crushed ice is a reminder that my days are numbered. The snow waits for no man. And no Zebra. It’s coming and I am scared. And there is no place to hide. My true colors will show in the snow. And it’s gonna be bad baby.

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