Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things Africans Don't Do: Keep Pets.

Next door's mangy mongrel came over to say hello as I was standing outside the office gates this morning. His regrettable lack of hygiene meant that I was a little reluctant to introduce myself and ruffle his crusty ears, but I thought that it was nice to see a dog that hadn't been tortured into a mortal fear and distrust of humans... until the poor puppy got called home and limped off with his tail between his legs, evidently unsure about his treatment there.

Very many dogs and a number of cats, not to mention vervet monkeys, police horses, zebras and other oddities about town get rough treatment at our hands. I was once told by someone that dogs in particular are detested because during colonial times they were used as part of the European machinery of oppression. Even we local bourgeois, eager adopters of a number of 'Western' conveniences (cable, nightclubs, jogging), often get a little squirrelly about creatures. Still, times have changed and the acts of casual cruelty that people commit towards strays and pets is very creepy. I just don't buy the notion that there is anything intrinsically 'African' about treating animals with contempt, no matter how many Afrochauvinists argue in that direction.

I have been sub-letting a friends' pets (one post-traumatic dog and an ill-tempered tomcat) but the time has come to get my own clawed allergen carriers. A natural place to go would be the animal rescue shelters, and I think that when the time comes that's where we find ourselves but for the meantime I am resisting. As a soft-touch, I don't want to go pet-hunting during a moment of weakness and get seduced by rows of sad eyes to take a whole pack of animals home. Besides, I am intrigued by the thought holding out for a Basenji, aka Congo Dog, Zande Dog, Ango Angari. Originally from the Congo-DRC, Basenjis don't bark but they do sing and ululate, clean themselves like cats, are aloof and independent and mischievous, and have an affinity for musical careers.


  1. Public Service Announcement: Bring your tired, weak, accidentally-pregnant, tortured pet/stray to Dar Animal Haven 0784 382 278.
    I also saw a sign for SPCA once, near BP Butiama...
    Note on the Basenji: I watched an Animal Planet documentary once, about a team of Americans who went looking for a new/the original gene pool - some had been brought over in the early 20th century and the gene pool was now a drop of spit. So they were directed to a relevant village. As soon as they said why they had come, everybody done sccop up their particular work/playmate and hustled them away from the crazy white folk here to take our pets away for only God knows what nefarious purpose. The white folk had to swear up and down and all around that the dogs would be treated with due care and respect. And no, the people wouldn't take money either. Looked quite shocked at the offer actually. So...
    Africans Do Keep Pets.

  2. you two are killing me! i know my babies are mad, but we still love them. i am actually finally down to the choice of two mates for Joey. dont know if i should just bring the two home or whether that will be the sounding of the death knoll for Joey, too much love.
    maybe just one.


No biting, spitting, trolling or ugly insults- only pretty ones allowed.

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter