Monday, 9 February 2009

A paradox?

In South Africa, white South Africans are not supposed to be able to call themselves Africans, for the obvious colonial reasons. Please, I don't want to dredge up that ancient debate. We are supposed to call ourselves Europeans.

Here in Europe we are not allowed to call ourselves Europeans. We are most definitely African.

As in, for instance, my mom and I cannot donate blood in the UK, because we have had relations with an African male. The same males who are European in Africa. Needless to say, these men cannot donate blood in Europe either. Europeans have a special blood type or something it seems.

So what this means to me is that we are nothing. We are in-between, in no-man's land; the flotsam of confused cultures.

This distresses me sometimes. Mostly it is alright. I suffer from chronic existential confusion anyway. I feel permanently confused, not-belonging, identityless. I often feel as if I do not own my life at all.

It is my state of being. So it suits me just fine being AfriPean.

{As a complete aside, what exactly does a seamonkey look like? I have never seen a full grown seamonkey before. And what do they eat? Teeny tiny sea bananas? You see how bad it is? I am having a species-identity crisis as I write.}


SA Expats said...

Lol @ Afripean!

mylifescape said...

lol... i do believe that "coloured" south african's suffer from even more of an Identity crisis, as finding themselves in the US, they'd be classified as Latino i'm sure.. lol... when i was in europe, many people asked me to speak South African... now THAT is dilerious!

as for seamonkeys... i'll have a think and let you know... ps: are you related to seahorses?

Superficialgirl said...

Hahaha! Just had a good laugh over the tiny bananas :P So weird, i am also overseas and when someone asks me where i am from and i say south africa, they usually say Africa? and then look at me funny and ask me why i am white... lol, next time i will have to tell them i am afripean :P

Goblin said...

Eh. I'm an African and people can get the hell over it.
I can't believe you can't donate blood though. That's frightening.

mylifescape said...

lol, i found this hehee >> there's a whole farm down there!

6000 said...

The whole "you must call yourself European" is so yesterday. You're beginning to sound like a typically hysterical "poor me" SA ex-pat. Careful now.

As for the blood thing - sadly - fair enough. The HIV problem over here (Africa) is so bad that the risk:benefit analysis came down very clearly in favour of that decision by the NBTS.

I'm still wondering how I got into SA despite the fact my compulsory chest x-ray was negative for TB.

po said...

SA expats :)

mylifescape: Yes, I often think about that. I would love to hear a "coloured" point of view actually. Never white enough and never black enough.

superficialgirl: yeah I get that all the time too. So weird.

Goblin: hehe I am not commenting on that. I spent too much time arguing over it in the past.

6000: expat: check

confused: check


hysterical: not so much.

I am a sad, confused expat, just like all the others. What can I do? It's me and it's what I feel. Cliched and boring yes. But I doubt I will stop feeling this way any time soon. I need to vent somehow. It is a process that all of us go through. I aint no different to the rest.

Tamara said...

Hehehehe... LOVE your writing, Po!

I think it's actually easier for us English-speaking "Afripeans" than for Afrikaners. TSC can't even remember apartheid (we are both too young to have experienced the worst of it), but often gets judged by people (local and from abroad) as having somehow been responsible for it - just because of his language and the colour of his skin.

It's kind of like saying like you can't associate with a German person because he or she belongs to the people group who started Nazi movement.

Well that's what I think anyway.

Kitty Cat said...

Love the AfriPean phrase. Perfect.

LadyFi said...

Afripean is a cool expression. Although I do think that global citizen just about covers everyone these days. How strange - and colonial - for people to get hung up over labels though... There are lots of third or fourth gen Londoners who are no more African than I am seamonkey.

po said...

Tamara: so true about Afrikaners. And then what about "coconuts", black but not black enough, and "Indians" who will be called that no matter how many generations have been in South Africa.

Good grief, well we are all confused so we should find solidarity in that :)

kitty: I think it has a good ring to it :)

Ladyfi: maybe it is just me. But I think in SA labels were always important, and even now when some people are desperate to shed them, they still stick like old glue.

po said...

Tamara: hectic, I just realised I have German ancestry, I really am an untouchable :)

Medio Pomelo said...

Once when living in Spain I was stopped from donating blood because I had lived in the UK previously and was obviously carrying mad cow disease. Blood donation is the privilege of those who live their lives safely tucked away in Suburbia and do not own a passport.
Sea monkeys are a rare species, it is very seldom one can spot a fully grown adult. I am actually thinking of starting a Sea Monkey Foundation, because they surely deserve to be saved.

Louisa said...

That's truly bizarre! I like your word though - AfroPean, has a nice ring to it.

DeelyBH said...

I'm a little confused - who told you you couldn't donate blood in the UK? I've lived here for little over 5 years now and in that time I've donated at least 3 times a year - never been stopped.

Jeanne said...

Afripean - I think I'll use it from now on :) I also get annoyed with the fact that certain factions in SA are always going on about "the whites should go back to Europe". Clearly these chaps have never had to deal with getting a Schengen visa. "But really, sir, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was born in Rotterdam! I'm European and don't need a visa!". Hah.

Let's form a Dislocated, Dazed & Confused Expats support group ;-)

po said...

medio: actually it doesnt bother me at all not being able to donate. I never could in SA anyway, I wasnt the correct weight or something. It was just ironic to me with all the names and stuff.

Yay, lets start a seamonkey fund, maybe I will get to grow up one day, but hopefully not too soon ;)

Loiusa: should I go for a patent?

deelybh: my mom tried and was not allowed because her husband is born in Africa. Weird that you can. Maybe it depends on the area?

Jeanne: sheesh, my Schengen visa stories cause me pain. I have been rejected so many times for reasons I cannot comprehend. And now with this UK visa thingy... travelling is quite a bum!

Dora said...

Yes, "Afripean" is definitely a cool term.

Ah. Identity crisis. Tell me about it. Whenever people ask me where I'm from, I'm not sure if they want to hear.

For the sake of simplicity, I just say I'm from Hong Kong. But then they'll say that I sound American.

That's when I take a deep breath and explain.

My boyfriend likes to wind me up by calling me Chinese. But Hong Kong is not like the rest of China. And I didn't really live in Hong Kong properly until I went back for university.

Where am I from? Who the heck knows...