So define for me what a snob is? Merriam Webster says, “Someone who tends to criticize, reject, or ignore people who come from a lower social class, have less education, etc.”
Uncle Google’s urban dictionary says, “Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else based upon superficial factors.” Now these are some harsh and quite specific definitions, so clearly somewhere between here and there I have misunderstood what it means to be a snob in the 21st century generation living in ‘Woke South Africa’
I am a fourth generation from my mother’s side who is Swati. I am third generation from my father’s side who is Pedi. Do I speak Swati, my mother tongue? You could talk about me and I would not have the faintest idea. And how is my Sepedi? It’s basic, quite conversational but I understand it very well. In mixed company I can comfortably hold a conversation. The only barrier might be that I am a socially awkward extrovert.
I have had the opportunity to have lived in the township, suburbs and currently on my father’s plot. I still live at home and have no ambitions of moving out right now. I enjoy the solitude of the one neighbour being too far away to hear me host one man Rihanna or Beyoncé sing-a-long concerts. I have become accustomed to my own company in that we don’t have the luxury of an unexpected visitor who was just passing and noticed that we were home. In the same breathe I like being in my grandmother’s home with carpents stained with the a travellers tired footprints. I have a love hate relationship with kids running across the road when they see a car coming. I like seeing childhood happening when they play umgusha, diketo, or skopti – I am reminded of me; scrawny buck teethed and still growing into my forehead.
If this is what we will deem ‘snobbish’ behaviour then I gladly accept the title. But get this right, I appreciate what I am and how my environment has shaped me. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to be more exposed to the black experience in ways that I have not and I applaud you.
When did we regard one experience to be better than another? How is my learned behaviour less black than yours? Essentially what is an authentic black upbringing? Don’t though, shame me for being different – ironically that makes you the snob and not I.
I refuse to apologise for my personal culture. One that is multilingual, fluent or not. One that has close to none of the fundamentals of the Sepedi traditions. One that is faith based and morphes to new intelligence.