News & events


05 January 2013

Love thy neighbour, love thy dog

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The allegation of being “un-African” continues to be used in multiple ways by political leaders to delimit African identities under the guise of decolonisation.

In news reports on President Zuma’s latest allegation against dog ownership and their treatment by black people, are a number of bizarre, and relatively normative, ideas of humans and other animals, and their relationship to each other in the new South Africa; a space that is in need of decolonisation.

The discourse that loving and taking care of other animals is “un-African”, a white phenomenon that black people are trying to emulate, has a long history in South Africa.

While much of this history has legitimacy (white South Africans who treat/ed their black domestic help as lesser subjects than their companion animals), this discourse has unfortunately, much to the detriment of the decolonising project, not really moved beyond Zuma’s latest remarks.

What does it mean to be treated “better than” or “less than”? And who gets to decide the marker from which “better” and “less” are decided?

Source: Mail & Guardian

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Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)