South Africa`s President prefers people over pets
Johannesburg: South Africa`s President says a dog should not be man`s best friend.
President Jacob Zuma made critical remarks about pet care that touch on sensitive race relations in South Africa, which was dominated by whites until apartheid was dismantled almost two decades ago, The Star newspaper reported on Thursday.
The newspaper cited Zuma as saying in a speech on Wednesday that the idea of having a pet is part of "white culture" and that people should focus on family welfare.
The President`s office sought to clarify his remarks, saying he was encouraging "the previously oppressed African majority" to uphold its own culture. It also suggested the way in which the comments were reported, rather than the comments themselves, was divisive.
The President`s remarks triggered a flurry of retorts from animal lovers on Twitter and other social media.
"Will I become `more African` if I kick my dog, President Zuma," one person commented tartly.
Another lamented: "He keeps on dividing this country."
And another humorist wrote: "Well, that pretty much rules out that photo opportunity with Zuma, the Obamas, & their pet dog, Bo, in the White House."
The backdrop to the dog debate is the legacy of Western colonialism in Africa, as well as the bitter struggle against apartheid in South Africa that culminated in the first democratic elections in 1994. Poverty and economic imbalances remain a source of deep strain in the nation of 50 million.
During his speech to an appreciative crowd in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma`s home province, the President said people who love dogs more than people have a "lack of humanity" and that some people are trying in vain to "emulate whiteness”, The Star reported.
"Even if you apply any kind of lotion and straighten your hair, you will never be white," he reportedly said.
In a statement, the South African presidency said Zuma was trying to "decolonise the African mind post-liberation" and enable people to take pride in their heritage and not feel pressure to adopt customs of minority cultures. Animals can be cared for, was the message, but not at the expense of people.
It said he gave examples of people loving animals more than other human beings, letting a dog sit in the cab of a truck while a worker has to sit in the back in the rain, or rushing an animal to the veterinarian while ignoring sick relatives or workers.
Zuma has often said he seeks to protect South Africa`s diversity and unify its disparate groups, but he has occasionally stirred controversy. In 2006, as deputy president, he said same-sex marriages, which are today protected under South African law, were "a disgrace to the nation and to God”.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Heat ave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Kenyan lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India