Howls of protest greet Zuma dog remarks By AFP | Thursday, December 27   2012 at  18:07

Jacob Zuma
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South African President Jacob Zuma got into a spot of bother Thursday when he suggested that owning a dog was not African and belonged to white culture.

Local media reported that President Zuma had remarked that buying a dog, taking it for walks and paying for veterinary care belonged to "white" culture.

Not able to let sleeping dogs lie, President Zuma went on to say that pet ownership was part of a worrying trend of black Africans trying to be white.

That prompted howls of protest from South African pet owners of all hues and mottles.

Criticism of President Zuma littered social networking sites like Twitter, where one user tweeted: "Zuma says owning dogs is un-African. Unlike those old African traditions of owning German cars, Italian suits, and Irish whiskey."

The presidency later tried to fend off some of the criticism, insisting President Zuma had been trying to "decolonise the African mind".

"The message merely emphasised the need not to elevate our love for our animals above our love for other human beings," said spokesman Mac Maharaj.

"He made the well-known example of people who sit with their dogs in front in a van or truck with a worker at the back in pouring rain or extremely cold weather.

"Others do not hesitate to rush their dogs to veterinary surgeons for medical care when they are sick while they ignore workers or relatives who are also sick in the same households."