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.