Dating Africa: A Social Experiment
FEATURED BLOG: DATING AFRICA
I was so amazed and so impressed when I came across a blog by a Young South African woman who is on a mission, or rather, a Social Experiment she calls Dating Africa: 47 Dates With 47 Guys From All Across Africa.
Her name is Helen and her job requires her to travel the continent so she figured it would be great to use this opportunity to find out the good, the bad and the ugly as well as to try and dispel all the myths about African men in General.
I think that’s a brilliant idea for a blog and so far she’s written about Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Eritrea and below we’ve featured a snippet from her entry on South African men. (Eri-what??) anyway, her blog is pretty new so please show her some love!
For me, the only disappointment is that she doesn’t talk about whether or not she sleep with the guys. I’m not promoting ho-ism but come on, you’re talking about African guys and the biggest myth around them is that the ones up north have bigger you know whats so nje, me I wanna know! heheh.
Read HELEN’s blog HERE.
Dating South African Men
Now dating South African men is a topic that I am well versed at, in fact I can write an extensive thesis with multiple appendices and exhibits. I have around 8 years of dating experience in South Africa (or 5 years to my parents) so I figured that instead of taking one date with a local guy, I could attempt to synthesise all of my dating life into one blog and give you a description of the kind of guys that I have come across in South Africa.
So bear with me as I share with you a catalogue of what Mzansi has to offer and the benefit/cost of having these jewels around
There’s the BEE Guy
This means no disrespect to the term BEE but we all know what kind of guy this is. It is the guy who has a fat bank balance (due to his recent government tender to build roads or a bridge or railway tracks etc) and a beer belly (or is that 40 year old scotch belly) to match. And how can we forget the famous pointed shoes and Armani suit. He is often in his late 30s or 40s and is the X5/RangeRover/BMW 7 series driving, self-starter who likes to go out with his buddies speaking loudly about his latest tender that will get him another 5 million rand addition to his bank balance (conveniently close to a group of ladies). He will offer to buy you a drink or send over a bottle of French champagne, as well as offer to take you to his newly acquired house (on the beach, by the dam etc), without really even knowing you.
Pros: He is an ambitious guy and is extremely well connected. He makes things happen, though often just for himself.
Cons: Unfortunately, you are not the only one that he makes very generous offers to (only every other Phuza Thursday) and often he has a wife/ex-wife around too. Due to his expensive spending habits, when he is between tenders, this guy may have a significant drop in his living standards. Only for those that are willing to ride his erratic financial curve.
The Young Professional
He is the guy that is in his mid 20s and is at the beginning of his career. He is an intelligent guy whom although is starting out, is doing really well at work. He lives in a small apartment, has minimal responsibility and is enjoying life right now and definitely does not want to be tied down. He has worked pretty hard at university to be at this point and now, when he is not working, he just wants to have fun and also make up for all the times that the older guys with cars took his girlfriends back at University so parked outside Universities is where you will usually find him.
Pros: He’s ambitious and has big dreams which he is likely to achieve.
Cons: He can be extremely immature and really does not want to be tied down to one girl. He has not quite grasped how a woman should be treated. He is still in student mode and insists you go Dutch on your dates. If you are looking for a mature relationship then maybe not this guy.
The Babies’ Daddy
This guy is in his late 20s or early 30s. He is a very nice guy and is really understanding, kind and funny, until you find out about his two kids from his previous relationship/s. He is often mature because he has had to be a father to his kids but naturally he comes with a big ball of baby mama drama.
Pros: Is mature, patient and understanding.
Cons: If you can deal with the baby mama calling him all the time and his split attention with his kids then you’ve passed Level 1 but you have to consider, especially in instances of multiple baby-mamas how responsible this guy really is and if he will ever be able to commit to just one woman or if he will continue to spread his seed irresponsibly.
Mr Gay and in Denial
This guy is so much fun to be with, kind of like when you are spending time with your girlfriends. He always compliments you on what you are wearing and has the best taste in well…everything. He is emotionally mature and is always a great comfort when you are feeling down, though you have been going out for 4 months now and have not gone past 1st base – he says he likes to take things slow and you respect that. He is super clean and is always immaculately groomed. People have said to you that he is slightly flamboyant and at times you do see him staring at other guys for a few seconds longer than most guys would, but you know what, he is gorgeous and it is terrible to categorise every guy with a bubbly personality as gay.
Pros: He is fun to be around with and is a good shoulder to cry on. Plus he is brutally honest, about everything – you need that in your life.
Cons: ….wait a minute, could he be g…, no. Well, that will be playing around all the time in the back of your head whether it is true or not and how long can you wait for a little more action. Anyway, who wants to be that girl that dragged a guy out of the closet… not me.
Black Trust Fund Baby
His parents are politicians/businessmen and they have quite a bit of money. Although this guy is in his mid to late 20s he still gets an allowance from his parents and they also pay for his posh apartment and car. He does not really know how to do much for himself but his dad has convinced him to start a little BEE company using his dad’s connections – his actual work day is a mere 2 or 3 hours each day. He dropped out of university but this does not certainly mean he is stupid. He would much rather be traveling the world than trying to act grown up. He loves to go out and have fun too and people know him by his surname and you will often hear people say, “ oh, you’re so and so’s son?”.
Pros: Fun and interesting. He’s a bit of a rebel and that is a bit attractive. He’s always keen for a good time and is always reminding you there is more to life when you are stressing out.
Cons: He’s a bit of a rebel and that eventually gets highly annoying. He cannot take responsibility for much and it is a major turn off that he is still living off his parents. He has a short attention span even when it comes to women and is often fleeting from one to the next.
The Conscious Brother
He is one with the soil. The kind of guy who is about something. He writes very well, and can be seen in Newtown performing slam poetry. He also knows a lot about African history. He can speak vernacular language and English fluently. He does not approve of your relaxed hair or weave and thinks you should be more natural. He loves women and often writes poems about your beauty using metaphors related to Africa and nature. He likes soul music and conscious hip-hop.
Pros: He’s intelligent. Has substance and can make for a great conversation.
Cons: He thinks working for a corporate is selling your soul which is why he would rather write poetry or paint for a living, which unfortunately does not make him much of a living. He thinks going to clubs that you quite enjoy is pretentious and a total waste of money, why not go to the Apartheid Museum, AGAIN!! He thinks you didn’t quite get it the first 10 times and another visit would help. And hope you’ve started growing your dreadlocks, just perfect when you’re listening to Bob Marley and are having a bit of the holy herb.
Your mother would love this guy because he is that guy that is always asked to start a song/hymn at family evening prayers. Not only does he head up the youth at his church but he has been tipped to become the next pastor/priest. Hiphop in his car? Never, this guy has all the Rebecca Malope and Lundi CDs as well as “Amadodana AseWeseli”, Vol I to Vol VII as he wears his new avocado coloured double breasted suit. He does not quite approve of the way you live your life and is always trying to convince you to change your ways.
Pros: Your mom would love him and so would your congregation. He is really good to have around when you go through something difficult because he always has uplifting advice and a prayer for you.
Cons: He will judge everything that you do and will feel like a bit of a father to you. If you like your Beyonce, don’t even think to play it around him because he’ll think that it is all the devil’s work. Also, if you are from a different church then this will always be a touchy point and he will not fail to remind you how wrong your church is about some issues.
He refers to all of his friends as “Chief” or “Boss” and spends his weekends at campaign rallies for his party. He insists on using politician language whenever he speaks English and it makes it difficult to make decent conversation with him. His relaxation gear is his party’s t-shirt and his car is currently wielding a sticker of his party’s logo. At time he randomly breaks out in struggle songs. You cannot get into a healthy political debate because he gets quite hysterical about it. Also, if you have friends of another race he thinks you are a sell out and reminds you of how black South Africans were marginalized etc etc.
Pro: He is loyal, well to his party and knows a lot about South African history. He is argumentative but that shows his passion.
Cons: You cannot have a conversation without him mentioning politics and he blames all things that go wrong in his life on the apartheid regime.
The C List South African Celebrity
You see the lead guy in your favourite local soapie, ok, not him, think about the guy that plays his friend and that shows up only now and then, or perhaps the TV presenter on some show that barely anyone knows, or even consider a DJ who does the graveyard shift on your favourite radio station. This is the guy that walks around as if he is about to be mobbed by us the minions.
Pros: He’s fun and maybe he might get his big break soon, so guess he will love you if “you are the girlfriend who stuck by him when he was still hustling”.
Cons: Where to start, he is likely to be struggling financially given that he isn’t exactly getting the limelight at his work, and also, he is often more big-headed than the so called A List celebrity.
The Failed Sportsman
His apartment is filled with memorabilia of his old rugby/soccer days when he used to play for a fairly popular club. Though he is in late 20s/early 30s he hasn’t given up on this dream of playing for the national team. When he talks about old memories it is always about the time he scored this many goals back in 1998 or the day he tackled someone in that rugby match in 2000. What he doesn’t realise as well is he is not as fit as he used to be and that ever-growing beer belly does not bode well for this dream that he still has. Due to the fact that he was so obsessed with sports, he did not get time to get an education and is now assistant coach for a local team, something like the Empangeni West Eagles.
Pros: He can teach you a lot about sports, which is great.
Cons: Well, besides you having to comfort him when he gets upset seeing one of his friends still playing for the national team, he just will not let go of the past. You better love the sport that he plays because that’s all he talks about, and thinks about . There is no catching him on the weekend either, he has his coaching job remember.
The Start-Up Businessman
This is the guy who has left everything in order to start his business- admirable, and brave, except he has been starting this business for the last 6 years. He has been reading his Rich Dad/Poor Dad for years on end yet you have not seen fruits of his labour. He still lives at home because the business currently does not have cashflows, but hey, it could happen any day now. All sorts of events in your relationship are contingent on his business starting, for example, you cannot go on holiday before things start picking up, you cannot get married until things start sellling, he cannot move out of home…. and so the list goes on.
Pros:Entrepreneurship is great and his entrepreneurial spirit is admirable. His business may eventually take off after 6 years, who knows.
Cons: A large number of businesses fail and it’s good when you realise that your business has failed and start working on something else. You may be waitng around forever for this business to take off and it seems that his business not taking off will hold you back from things that you want like for example marriage
The Eternal Student
This is the intellectual who has 3 degrees. He is now in his mid 30s and it is the 6th year he is working on his PHD on Human Existentialism and Human Behaviour (or something like that), FULL TIME. He is a lecturer part time at his University and has never had any other kind of job. He is sharp and is always very logical in his thinking, often quoting philosophers and economists in his arguments.
Pros: He is always one for good intellectual conversation. From all his degrees, he has gained much knowledge, and is impressive to take around to your boss to debate with him issues such as economics and politics but his viewpoint is usually from a very theoretical perspective.
Cons: He has no idea how real life, especially work life is. You have been waiting for a while for this guy to finally finish his studies, but it has not happened, with his latest suggestion being to try and do another degree concurrently with his PhD. “You can never stop learning”, is what he always says. He makes almost no money, and often has to ask you for assistance when his financial support for his PhD does not come through. At times he rushes off, often triggered by something you said, and disappears for hours as he includes something you have said in his thesis. Can be annoying, especially when you are in the middle of some quality time.
So in the end….
As you can see there are a myriad of guys in South Africa (as I am sure there are in other countries), but I unfortunately have a chance to date just one per country for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. Many people would say that in South Africa the characteristics of guys are seperated according to language, with for example Zulu guys being known for ummm, being a little tough on their women, Sotho guys being softies, Xhosa guys being smooth operators and Shangaan guys for their big…..errrr hearts. Perhaps this will be another sub-project for me or someone else to look into.