Just Like Us: Cardozo and South African Students Find Common Ground
By Ugochi Onyeukwu
You might think meeting South African students would be a stretch, and that teenage South Africans are way different then DC teens. But when you start to talk to them you see that we are all the same. With tongue rings, belly button rings, partying, and love for the opposite sex, its safe to say the only thing that separated us were our accents.
Seven South African students came to America in a student exchange program and are peer educators for HIV/AIDS. They got tested for HIV/AIDS and were happy to tell us that they were all negative, and they wanted us all to go and get tested too.
We met at the Blackburn Center of Howard University where there is a bowling alley. Which was fun, but the South African students had never bowled before. While bowling on his first ever bowling experience, Gladwin Mabebe got a strike.
We asked about one of the students belly rings and tongue ring and asked her what her parents thought of it "In my culture no one takes that seriously" said Elreeza Myers. They said that there is no adult approval needed to get piercings. "It's my body," said Refiloe Kekana .
The South African students are music lovers to the fullest. We had discussions over Go-Go. They implied that Go-Go was weak saying " that is the kind of music that we clean the house to." This led to a heated argument between the South African students and the Cardozo students. They prefer South African house music, they said that it is more interactive, more alive. But they do like other American music."Have you ever met Chris Brown?" said one of the South African girls and "Chingy is hot, if you ever meet him tell him I said hello" said Refiloe. They listen to all the same songs as we do and sang along with us as we sang Irreplaceable by Beyonce and Unfaithful by Rihanna.
We also had the love of the opposite sex. We asked them what boys in South Africa are like and they also had their impressions of American boys. They said that in South Africa boys don't really wear baggy clothes and if they do then they are referred to as "niggas" or "punks." But they like all kinds of boys. When Refiloe Kekana saw a cute Howard male student she exclaimed "Hallelujah," which made the whole group giggle.
We gave them a tour of our school and Elreeza Myers exclaimed "This is one big school." After spending a day with the South African teenagers, and finding that we had a lot in common. I realized that this is a small world after all.
By George Telzrow |
March 1, 2007; 6:20 PM ET
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