"When did South Africans start observing Halloween?," a close female friend asked over dinner last Sunday night in Joburg.
"That is just so wrong," she added.
"I know. It is so phony and totally not South African," I commented.
"Forget Halloween boet," said my boy D. who was sitting next to me. "There are South Africans who celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa without one American around."
"No way. How the hell can any South African celebrate Thanksgiving? It has nothing to do with us. At the very least Halloween is a contrived American ritual made popular by movies. But Thanksgiving?," I said.
"Yeah it is disturbing but it happens here," D. replied.
There is just so much wrong with celebrating and observing American rituals and holidays in a country where many folks refuse to celebrate our own public holidays.
August 9th was Heritage Day in South Africa. One too many South Africans, particularly coloured, white, and Indian South Africans, refused to acknowledge the theme of Heritage and instead dubbed the day "Braai Day" (Barbecue Day).
I bet a sizable number of the "Braai Day" day celebrants see nothing wrong with observing Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Just last week I was reading a print article by a South African political commentator that was entitled "Will South Africa step up to the plate?"
What plate does he want South Africa to step up to?
"Step up to the plate" is a quintessential American metaphor that references batting in baseball. South Africa does not play baseball and the metaphor is absolutely amiss inside our popular and political culture.
Yet, if you asked some folks what it means I bet they will think it is 'stepping up to the braai' to get some food on your plate :0)
I have also heard another baseball metaphor used quite commonly. This one refers to "a ballpark estimate" or "a ballpark figure".
What the hell hey? We have no 'ballpark' nothing in South Africa. Why is this Americanism becoming such a permanent part of our communication?
I guess one could deconstruct my rant here and ask why I even bother to speak English being that I am obviously not from England.
You know that answer.
What I don't want to accept is the manner in which most South Africans consume all kinds of foreign things and habits without thinking through the implications.
Halloween does not belong here. Nor does Thanksgiving. Neither are in the 'ballpark' of being South African and living here.
I will save my added rant on Hip Hop culture and South African youth for another post.
But please allow me to say to white South Africans that it does not make you 'hip' to say "cool" or "my bad" or "don't diss me" or to constantly refer to the ANC "bling" in your daily lamentations.
Like my boy Eugene might say: 'It just makes you look stupid that's all.'
So stop appropriating and mimicking just because you think you can, "pilgrim" ;0)