Along with the idiotic questions I get from tourists about where I live, I get even worse questions about where I am from. As a hotel standard, we all have the name of the place we are from on our name badges. This helps the guest connect with us better and also sometimes gives a guest a conversation topic when you have nothing to talk about.
And of course, for every country but Africa, Africa is a controversial topic. You would think that with this day and age and the technology at our fingertips people would be more informed, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
So, just for a little information. I grew up in South Africa and work and studied there before I decided to come and travel. I have lived in the United States now for 7 months. I have compiled a list of shocking questions which I was asked during my travels in the United States, working in a hotel and being a traveller in Europe.
Can I just start with stating: people are ignorant.
– Is your grandmother black? (no, but maybe I am lying about being from Africa)
– A guest pointing at my iPhone lying at the front desk when checking in – does your iPhone work in South Africa? (no sir, I just thought I would buy it so that I could have a phone in America)
– Do you speak African? (not fluently, but I can teach you if you like…)
– Do you celebrate Christmas? (yes, only at Christmas)
– Does animals roam the streets? (if you are in the Kruger park maybe)
– Do you live in huts? (No of course not, okay yes some maybe.)
– Guest comments – horrible what that Oscar Pistorius guy did. (if only he wasn’t an Olympic contender and then you wouldn’t even know what was going on…)
– Aren’t you afraid you might have Ebola? (yes, because I kissed someone who lived in West Africa.)
There are multiple other little dumb questions which I might have neglected to mention, but the above ones were just shocking, And it’s not only Americans that asked me these questions, but several other nationalities from all over the world.
I am not saying travel to South Africa, but please just watch a documentary or do some effort to be inquisitive about somewhere you don’t live (and no Blood Diamond doesn’t count.) The world would be a better place if we could just for one second consider that there is more to other countries than what is portrayed in the news.