JOHANNESBURG: South African President Jacob Zuma got into a spot of bother Thursday when he suggested that owning a dog was not African and belonged to white culture. Local media reported that Zuma had remarked that buying a dog, taking it for walks and paying for veterinary care belonged to “white” culture.
Not able to let sleeping dogs lie, Zuma went on to say that pet ownership was part of a worrying trend of black Africans trying to be white. That prompted howls of protest from South African pet owners of all hues and mottles on social networking sites. The presidency later tried to fend off some of the criticism, insisting Zuma had been trying to “decolonize the African mind.”
“The message merely emphasized the need not to elevate our love for our animals above our love for other human beings,” said spokesman Mac Maharaj. “He made the well-known example of people who sit with their dogs in front in a van or truck with a worker at the back in pouring rain or extremely cold weather.
“Others do not hesitate to rush their dogs to veterinary surgeons for medical care when they are sick while they ignore workers or relatives who are also sick in the same households.”