Yesterday night at a club, I encountered an American.  Not just any American, but Morgan…from San Francisco.

White, early-thirties, mousy/tousled hair with a nose ring and some SouthEast Asian-inspired dangly earrings.  She could have been Jewish, but I’ve never been good at that cultural/ethnic guessing game when it comes to White people.  Irrelevant in this case.

Anyway, Morgan overheard me speaking to a friend – loud enough in a loud club – and asked me where I was from.  Immediately hearing/knowing she was from the US (I’m OK at the nationality guessing game), I said I’m American…followed with the abbreviated version of “what I’m doing here, when I came” that’s reserved for complete strangers in less-than-appropriate contexts.

I learned that Morgan decided to DEAGA (Drop-Everything-And-Go-Africa) to come volunteer for the World Cup in Cape Town.  I couldn’t hate on that.  I met DJ here doing the while he was doing the same thing…cool guy.  This was Morgan’s first weekend in Jo’burg.

Then it got interesting.

(the following is a summary of our dialogue past pleasantries)

GG: “oh ok, cool…how’d you like it?”

M: “volunteering was cool, but I didn’t like Cape Town”

NOTE: a lot of people love Cape Town, a lot of people hate it (non-CapeTonian South Africans moreso than visitors I find).  Actually, Morgan is one of the first Americans I’ve met who didn’t absolutely fall in love with CPT.  The Cape Town thing is  for another post.  Moving right along…

GG: “really?  Why is that?”

M: “well…it really didn’t seem like Africa.” She continued, because clearly she saw nothing wrong with her own honest and “informed” conclusion. “I spent some time in Namibia after World Cup, and in the townships.  That felt like Africa to me.”

In GG’s head: Eeeeeeerrrrrrrrrkkkkkh (or however one types the sound of the needle sliding off of a record)

Conversation over.  Party People  @ O.S.T. was not a teachable moment…and if a month in South Africa DURING the world cup did nothing to counter a notion that all things not of shacks, poor children, or sparsely populated brushland are not African…I had nothing more to say.


Not Africa…..


Not Africa…



photo credits: Ghairu, IN AFRICA!