Friday 5: 5 Ridiculous Responses After Being Told I Am From South Africa!

FRIDAY 5 | | June 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Friday 5 series is not dead but I will be posting only when I really feel the urge to (rather than compelled based on timing). The World Cup soccer is being held in South Africa and I am more than nostalgic at this exciting news.

  • But where is South Africa? What is the name of the country? – No really people have asked me this so many times it is actually¬†embarrassing. You would think the name South Africa itself would be a clue in itself, wouldn’t you? The only other thing more irritating is the reference to Africa as a country instead of a continent. The sadder thing is a fellow South African doing his MBA at Harvard actually found that reference even in his Harvard material.
  • Oh, I know someone from Kenya! - That’s right I am supposed to know people from other countries in Africa. That is like telling people in USA that you know someone in Canada or Mexico.
  • Do you have elephants in your street? – People it is a safari where you see the elephants and lions and… Out of frustration I have began telling people that yes I keep them as pets. Hey if you are silly enough to believe that, you actually deserve it.
  • Wow you speak English! – Contrary to popular belief many people, even in 3rd world countries do speak English. And some of us do a pretty good job at it too.
  • You don’t look South African. – I am not sure what South African is supposed to look. South Africa is not called a rainbow nation for nothing.


  1. 1

    Ha! I can relate to this post… When I was a college student in PA I was asked the following questions ALL THE TIME:

    - Is England near Scotland? Yep, very near.
    - Is Benny Hill still alive? No idea.
    - Do you know my aunt/third cousin/friend of my dad? Usually a town miles away from Manchester.
    - Do English men still wear bowler hats? Uh, only if performing as Mr. Banks and the other bankers in Mary Poppins!
    - When I told the name of my town — Wilmslow — I would get a blank response. I would say Manchester — more blank looks. Finally, I would say I am near London.
    - When I mentioned living near Manchester to anyone musical, I would be serenaded by “Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea” from a musical…Hair?

    I now have three children in public school. I find that geography is not taught the way it was in England. We covered so many parts of the world in the elementary/middle/high schools I attended in England. Kids are taught US geography over and over again. In middle school it is assumed that they will be able to find SubSaharan Africa on the map. Uh, not likely.

  2. 2

    My hubby is South African and gets the same type of thing. Worst recent comment was “I didn’t know there were people in South Africa – I thought it was only tribes.” Huh?

  3. 3

    You keep an elephant as a pet…LMAO. I really enjoyed this weeks Friday 5

  4. 4
    Toni says:

    Oh my gosh that is so funny it’s sad. I can’t believe people asked/said those things LOL

  5. 5

    Funny and not at all surprising. Sigh.

  6. 6
    Karolyn says:

    I have lived in South Africa for the past five months as an exchange student. I did get some of those questions asked or similar things mentioned to me. People were very surprised back in the states to hear that I had electricity in my building as well.

  7. 7
    T Dhillon says:

    Nice topic of conversation – its amazing how people know so little about one of the largest continents, I bet people don’t know English is spoken so widely there.

    I wrote a blog called “Its time for some football” – to help people teach their kids about South Africa so when they grow up they don’t ask questions like this.

    Thanks you

  8. 8
    Shelly says:

    Oh boy I can understand how you feel with the foolish questions. I tell people I am from Guyana and the first thing they say is “Jim Jones” and they are amazed at my perfect English. I have lived in the states since I was 3 and I still get the occasional “Welcome to America” from old folks. haha :)

Leave a Reply