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Owning a dog 'is not African', declares Jacob Zuma: Racism row after South African president says black people with pets are just copying white culture
Outspoken president describes people who love dogs more than humans as 'having a lack of humanity'Black South Africans
respond by posting photos of themselves
being 'un-African' by walking their dogs on Twitter
President's office says message of speech 'was need to
decolonise the African mind post-liberation'
23:31 GMT, 27 December 2012
Claim: South African President Jacob Zuma has warned black Africans against owning and walking dogs, which he says is just copying white culture
He is not afraid to voice controversial opinions on anything from same-sex marriage to teenage pregnancy.
But now South African president Jacob Zuma has taken the bizarre step of warning black Africans against owning a dog.
President Zuma said that owning and walking a dog, and even taking one to the vet, were not African activities, and was just copying white culture.
The president, 70, who faces
investigation by the country's anti-corruption watchdog over an upgrade
to his country home, is a proud Zulu and adheres to traditional
practices – including polygamy. He has six wives and believed to have
fathered 20 children.
Speaking at an event in KwaZulu-Natal province, he described people who love dogs more than humans as 'having a lack of humanity', Durban newspaper The Mercury reports
President Zuma reportedly told an
audience of black South Africans on Wednesday to stop adopting the
habits of other cultures. 'Even if you apply any kind of lotion and
straighten your hair you will never be white,' he said.
Some black South Africans
responded to Mr Zuma's latest comments by posting photos of themselves
being 'un-African' by walking their dogs on Twitter, according to the Telegraph.
Mr Zuma reportedly said earlier this year that it was 'not right' for women to be single and has endorsed traditional courts in South Africa in the past.
Re-elected: Mr Zuma's reign as leader of his party the ANC was extended earlier this month
Anger: Dog walkers have criticised President Zuma's comments on Twitter (file picture)
The Telegraph reports Mr Zuma's
office as saying that the message of his speech 'was the need to
decolonise the African mind post-liberation.'
'This is not to say that animals
should not be loved or cared for. The message merely emphasised the need
not to elevate our love for our animals above our love for other human
beings,' said the statement.
Mr Zuma is expected to spend at least
another five years as President of South Africa after he was re-elected
leader of his party, the ANC, earlier this month.