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Culture, Reality

What’s beneath the Skin

by Petra Mason, illustration by Anton Kannemeyer / 23.06.2010

South Africa, despite all our pretensions, is still largely a race obsessed nation. But DNA testing proves that the race debate is a fallacy. By in large, we’re all a bunch of mixed-race mongrels and claiming 100% racial purity is scientifically inaccurate. Many South Africans of every shade carry Khoisan or Bantu DNA. We at Mahala believe that large scale DNA testing could neutralise racism and kick forward the mind set of all those South Africans who are so preoccupied with race.

Thanks to Curious Pictures who did a documentary called So Where Do We Come From? for MNet, for these results.


Image courtesy Wikipedia via SA Good News

Nelson Mandela: Born in the Transkei. Nelson Mandela’s maternal line is descended from the first people of South Africa, the Khoisan. His paternal line is Bantu from Southern Africa.


William Kentridge, Drawing for the film Stereoscope [Felix Crying], 1998-99.

Artist William Kentridge: Born in Johannesburg but descended from the same line as the Iceman, the European clan K for Katherine. His father’s line has origins in the Middle East.

Comedian Marc Lottering: Born “German from Retreat” thought he was likely Khoisan and was surprised to discover he is from European clan H for Helena on his Mother’s line and from a Eurasian line on his Dad’s side. He has exact matches in Germany, Poland and France.

Journalist, TV and Radio Presenter and Chair to FIFA 2010 World Cup Organizing Committee Tim Modise: Always thought “We are one big squabbling family” His results are Bantu from Southern Africa on his Dad’s line and on his Mom’s side a surprise: Europe and Asia.

David Kramer singer, songwriter, playwright and director Born Worcester hoped to discover DNA from Africa but his results showed 2 European lines – one the most common and one the most rare which includes people from Finland.

Performer, author, satirist Pieter Dirk-Uys: Born in Cape Town. “Wished a Matebele Princess was his Aunt”. Turns out he is Eastern European on his Dad’s side and was surprised and delighted that on his Mother’s side, Bantu. “So I am African. No one with black skin can point a finger at me!”

Opening Image © Anton Kannemeyer.

Title: “Say! If you speak English….”, Medium: five colour lithograph, Paper size: 50.5 x 66.5cm, Image size: 41.5 x 58cm, Edition size: 35, Price: R 3 500

Available for purchase from Art Print SA

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