“My friend, where you from?”
“I’m from South Africa.”
“Wallah?! But my friend, you no black! Your baba, mama from South Africa?”
“No, my baba and mama from Portugalia”
“My friend, then you no South Africa. You Portugalia!”
This was the discussion with a taxi driver the other day. Despite me trying to explain I was born and raised in South Africa, the man would have none of it! I was Portuguese and Khalas! He then went on to attempt make me feel bad for denouncing my Portuguese heritage! I left the taxi laughing but the man might have a point. I guess I could just save myself the hassle and lie, but unfortunately I’m not programmed like that.
For me it makes perfect sense to be both Portuguese and South African. My parents are Portuguese, so there is obviously some Portuguese claret in me. I speak the Language. I have the passport. My football team is the great Benfica from Lisbon. Many Christmases were spent in Madeira. I grew up on Portuguese food. Watching Portuguese novelas followed by the Portuguese news. I even learned to read Portuguese by reading the weekly Portuguese paper in South Africa.
Though there is one problem… My appearance. Unfortunately the stereotypical tanned-skin-dark-eyes-and-hair-smooth-talking-Mediterranean gene was M.I.A. when I was being stitched together. The on duty gene was the pale-blue-eyed-light-haired-high-pitched-voice one. My appearance is so abhorrent that when I am in my grandparents village in my Madeira, on the almost yearly pilgrimage to my parents roots, I’m mistaken for a lost tourist. My grandfather calls me “O Russo” (The Russian) due to my appearance. The only physical Portuguese characteristics I possess, is being hobbit sized and well, being hairy… That gene had no problem making an appearance in my creation.
But at the same time I’m South African. I might not have any South African blood in me, but I was born there. I lived there for eighteen years. I was educated there. My accent is still South African (albeit with a schizophrenic personality). My personality is heavily infused with South African traits and characteristics. For me life without biltong and braais is no life at all. But most importantly I love South Africa with all its faults and I do want to move back someday when I’ve seen enough of the world.
How do prove my Porra or Saffa credintials? Well I’ve devised a highly scientific and academic test which will conclusively prove my allegiance to either one or both nationalities. I will take the highly accurate stereotype ‘You know you are …’ chain mails and use it as a test. If I score higher than 70% I will classify as part of that group.
The two lists I’ve used are the following:
On the Portugueseness test I scored a high 79%. So I am Portuguese, but that we knew already.
The result of the South Africaness test was crucial. 77%. HA! There! See I am South African too.
I will print out these results and have them translated to hand out to those doubting taxi drivers.