Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Mutt I Didn't Think I Would Be




There you have it: my DNA results from AncestryDNA.com.  I waited nearly two and a half months and spent my birthday money for this late birthday present.  Yes, I am the type of person who buys a DNA test for himself for his birthday. 

Whatever the case may be, I am, just like everyone who takes the test it seems, surprised at the result. However, I would say my surprise might be greater than your average chap or lass who takes the test.  I will tell you about my surprise.

I grew up an Afrikaner.  I am of the people who came from the Netherlands to start a refreshment post at the foot of Africa for the Dutch East India Company.  I am of the people who crossed the harsh interior and Drakensberg mountains of South Africa barefoot and lugging their whole lives on ox carts.  I am of the people who fought a bitter, failed war of independence against imperial Britain.  I am of the people who oppressed millions of Africans in the name of ethnic superiority.  I am of the people who are few, but who, like the Jews, managed to make an indelible impact on history for good and evil. 
My last name has strong German roots.  My mother's and grandmothers' last names alluded to French and Dutch ancestry.  As far as I know, my paternal lineage of ancestors have been living in South Africa since before the year 1700.

At least, I THOUGHT I was all these things.

With the test from AncestryDNA, all of the above gets thrown on its head.  I find out that I am nearly two-thirds the imperialists my ancestors struggled so bitterly against.  I find out that I am merely 1% Western European, when all the last names were pointing to this region.  I find out that my blond is not a Germanic blond, but a Scandinavian blonde.  I find out that my tendency to speak with the hands in one-on-one communication must be because of that 11% Italian/Greek descent.  I find out that I am only 97% white - the old hands during the Apartheid regime would hardly have thought this sufficient for a white in a one-drop-rule society.  I find out that, somewhere along the way, a Melanesian fought his/her way into my ancestry alongside a Kazakh and a native Southern African. 

The conversations and enquiry into my past has only just begun.  God knows how this may affect my future and thoughts about the world.  The only sure thing at this point in time is that I am not the mutt I thought I would be.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

On His Twenty and Third

Life has a way of running about.  Of this day you marvel at the much that is yet to come and of the other you lament all that has been - that which could have been and that which should never have been.  Yet, through the daily meditations and considerations of the now, life never ceases to abound round about the pondering.  To the point, it seems, where we may ask what is even the purpose of reflection?  Why remove yourself from the ceaseless whirl that is life in all its richness?
I answer, with mere twenty and three years of wisdom, with a theory, certain to amend to tomorrow's lore, which calls upon the modern meanderer to consider the goings of the times, of people, of nature at the odd stop.  Consider and ponder their significance from every viewpoint that the mind can conjure up.  Let it teach you as no other could.  Ere you be consumed, do proceed away.  Proceed away with the richness of experience, with the richness of feeling so deeply and join again ceaseless whirl of life and all.  Man was meant to traverse, to sample, but also to grow.  So paradoxical is movement and stasis, traversing and laying down roots, that logic fails to comprehend.  Yet, such is the story of mankind - a juxtaposition of logic - but uniquely, truly, unequivocally human.