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What's beneath the Skin?

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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RESPONSES (11)
  1. Jersey Pot says:

    Isn’t saying, for example, “we all come from Africa, we’re all Africans”, kind of like saying, we’re all homosapiens, or we all have skin. Sure, but fast-forward several thousand years and our aboriginal origins might as well be meaningless.

    Race is now as much a construct of the social as it is of the biological.

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  2. original process says:

    real interesting- are there any hardcore afrikaners with bantu blood??must be loads -that would be interesting to hear about their responses

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  3. Anonymous says:

    With the way things are going…fast forward a few hundered years…and every “race”will be melanin advantaged. The French are leading the way (Throwing their borders open is working out well, no?)

    Karma is a beeyatch.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Regression towards the mean

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  5. Petra Mason says:

    The test costs R800 for women and R1200 for men.

    Where to get a DNA test:

    Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Unit
    Division of Human Genetics
    They get clients from all over South Africa. Clients that aren’t in the area can phone (011 489 9293) and ask for a kit, which they will post to you.

    Department of Human Genetics
    National Health Laboratory Service
    P O Box 1038
    Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Unit
    Division of Human Genetics
    NHLS
    Johannesburg
    South Africa
    2000

    Tel: +27 11 489 9237 / 9293
    Fax: +27 11 489 9226

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  6. Jersey Pot says:

    Why is it more expensive for men?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Ja, why is it more expensive for me?

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  8. Erika Hibbert says:

    Males can trace back mother and father lines but females can only trace back maternal line.

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  9. anonz says:

    wow. racist and sexist. go tests.

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  10. Matthys says:

    Ek maak die Y DNA haplogroepe van die verskillende vanne in Suid Afrika bymekaar. Dit sal vir my mooi wees om my kwartierstaat daarmee te vergelyk. Dit is egter vertroulike inligting en ek kan dit net van die families self kry. Die Europese nasate is gewoonlk die R1a of R1b of I1 haplogroepe. Dit sal interessant wees of die I haplogroep wat die ou oorspronklke Europese inwoners was vergelyk word vir leierskap of enige sukses in sport of politiek of besigheid met die Indo Europese groepe R1a en R1b wat hulle met die ystertydperk oorheers het. In Europa was die adel uit die R1b groep maar die I groep was die mees suksesvolste op ander tereine.

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  11. dylan says:

    I would love to see some dna test on the residents living in Oranje

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