Reject false compliments and stand firm for your people

I am not about to lie and say I have never said “Thank you” and gained some level of confidence when some random individual said I did not look Tsonga at all (Tsonga is a South African language mostly spoken in Limpopo province) but it always left me with some amount of sore guilt as to why I would think of it as a compliment when it actually should have offended me for my people, I should have inquired about what they thought of Tsonga people if I didn’t look anything like them in a good way from where they stood. I shouldn’t have taken pride in being placed within a tribal group I did not belong to, but I did.

It made me wonder why we, African people think low of our own tribes that we think it best to belong to another within the very same Africa. It excites a Venda (another language spoken in Limpopo) to be mistaken for another tribal group but Venda, think of how it would be for an African man to be mistaken for an American. “Jubilation of humiliation”.

I befriended a Nigerian whom in the beginning of our friendship I thought to be a South African because he just didn’t have that accent and that full black hair and eyebrows they usually have. My mistake was saying it out loud when I discovered he was Nigerian, he began to tell me about all the events when people wouldn’t tell that he was Nigerian and actually said “thank you” with a grin so full of pride. “Proudly South African wanna be”. I hated myself for using that line ‘I thought you were South African’, everything about it suddenly felt wrong, I felt guilty for making him feel good about being someone he would never be, not even after ten years in South Africa.

It pleases a Zimbabwean in South Africa to be mistaken for a South African, it pleases an African who is in a country which he or she considers better than their own to be mistaken as a citizen by birth. It is more like we think of ourselves as more visible and important once we are identified with the dominant group in the environment we find ourselves in, when we should be standing firm and representing our own people.

African people; we ought to take pride of who we are. We ought to stop saying ‘thank you’ when people misplace us. We shouldn’t let people tell us we are too beautiful to belong to our own tribe, we shouldn’t let people win us over and forget where we came from. You are not too beautiful to be Tsonga, Venda, Pedi, Sotho, Xhosa, Tswana, Shona, Yoruba or whatever language you speak but your people are that beautiful.


10 thoughts on “Reject false compliments and stand firm for your people

  1. Yes I’m African..Yes, I’m Shona! I owe my being to the Rozviland, the great architects of the Dzimbadzemabwe and the Mapungubwe stone masonry. What an inspiring article! It’s also important to note that descendants of Soshangane are spread all over the Southern Africa Region, just like the rest of the African tribes. The Gaza kingdom covered the greater part of Mozambique, the South Eastern part of Zimbabwe, the North Eastern part of South Africa. We’ve sons and daughters of Soshangane, Mzila, Ngungunyana and Mpisane spread all over the region. I can go on about this subject. It pains me to see Africans allowing other people to tell our history. I am African! I know who I’m!

    • The world wouldn’t be beautiful without you, it would be incomplete, that is why God specially created you. You are unique and can not be replaced. I love people who know their worth and are proud of who they are. Proudly African

  2. Thank you for saying that…we should be telling our own history, we should be proud of who we are but yet we are so caught up in being who we are not. u know i only learnt about my own history recently on the internet- it shouldn’t be that way.

  3. Someone asked me why I never get offended when people say I am Shangaan instead of Tsonga. I told him that because I am human (Tsonga or Shangaan, both falls under being human). A wise person sees human first before colour,tribe and all that. Those with less knowledge about PEOPLE consider themselves better than others (well I just wonder if they are aware that we are all made by one God) . I honestly think its lack of knowledge to actually think you are better than some one based on tribe not brains

    • Nyeleti, that’s a brilliant approach to life. Yes, we’re humane first before anything. But like what my father’s daughter(Pinky) has said, we still need to know and understand our familial roots and identity. I can’t be called Shangaan if I have no lineage to Shongane! Bury me in Africa by Nilene Omodele Adeoti Foxworth, goes a long way in showing the predicament of an black man living in the diaspora, especially as a second class citizen. Of course my father’s beautiful daughter had limited her scope to Africans within the African land, but this becomes more complex when it comes to black people in America, Europe or the Oceania. The issue of identity seems to be really a big one. Can we really say, colour, race doesn’t matter?

  4. I think Nyeleti looked at this whole concept based on spiritual realities and I commend her for that because trully we are one people in christ, however; it is a whole different story in physical realities, race tend to matter even after democracy and all that equalize people.

  5. God created man in his own image, black or white we are all created in his image. He had a reason for making different tribes and one ought to be proud of his because it was not by mistake that he puts us in different tribes and in different skin colour. I am unique, there is other shangaan nyeleti with the DNA I have, we are all special in different ways and should know our identity and fullfill the purpose of our existence where God placed us

    • Absolutely Nyeleti! You’re a star indeed (answering to your name)! God created us in his own image and by no means should any human being claim superiority over the other. However, slavery(slave trade), apartheid, colonialism, which are humanity’s worst and demeaning crimes have left in their wake a trail of broken hearts, fragmented and uprooted family trees. In most cases victims of these trades not only suffer the pangs of subjugation and displacement but are also at the receiving end of racial prejudice as their yearning for an authentic identity remains void. In the worst case where an African(brown) looks down upon another African, they both even don’t know that they are from the same father. Pinky maybe we should look at the other reasons why a Tsonga would be proud to be mistaken for a Xhosa, a Zimbabwean in Mzansi be proud to be mistaken for a South African , an African from Africa in America would be proud to be identified as an African-American. There’s more to this that just the quest to be identified with the dominant group in that environment. Can a white person ever be mistaken for a black person? But a black person(who has bleached themselves, yellow bone), might be mistaken for a white person, can they? My beautiful sisters, a lot of questions are racing through my mind. Can a German ever be happy to be mistaken for a Briton? Can a South Korean ever to be mistaken for a Japanese? Why is it so for the brown/black Africans? Pinky, this is a complex subject. I hope all your literature endeavors won’t go this route..

  6. Absolutely not, this is already going deeper than i anticipated…I think in this case, it would be safer to concentrate on Africa, basing the whole thing strictly on african people, because if we had to include everyone then offensive reasons as to why people behave the way they do would rather be insinuated here.

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