Things I learnt about white guys by marrying a black girl


By Hagen Engler

There I was thinking I was the Derek Hanekom of Saxonwold Extension. Turns out I’m exactly as white as I look, and no closer to transforming myself into an honorary black person than when I was a sandboy at Boet Erasmus in the Eighties. But marrying my lovely black wife did give me some interesting insights into the white man’s condition, as gleaned from the wisdom of her gimlet eye. As a a final and ultimate follow-up to Marrying Black Girls For Guys Who Aren’t Black, here are some sweeping generalisations about white guys…

We’re learning Xhosa

The problem is, we’ve been learning it for ten years and all we can really do in vernac is buy weed and ask bhuti to fill up our car with 93. Probably at the same place. On the reverse side, her family speaks English, but no more than necessary. There certainly won’t be any family squabbles with the white dude, because no one can be bothered to speak that much English.


…or “white people’s prices”. Us white people get ripped off everywhere we go. Because if we see a price on something, we just pay it. That counts for everything from haircuts to buying Persian carpets to getting weed at the petrol station. When it comes to bribing traffic cops, black people get away with twenty bucks. White guys, it’s two hundred. Entry level!

We don’t eat enough meat

Cucumber salad, soya tacos, baked eggplant with rice in it… It is a worry. At a black people’s umsebenzi, you’ll be given a plate full of meat with two lettuce leaves and a quarter of a tomato. It’s like white people want to turn every meal into a salad! For black people, it also appears to be deemed a waste of resources not to chew your bones into pink mush and leave them on a little pile on the side.

It’s true. We really cannot dance

Except me, of course. I’m the only white oke on the planet who can dance like Zakes Bantwini. But somehow, bring me to a black wedding and I’ll stumble onto the dancefloor the minute people start doing the bus, lose my place, start going against the flow and wreck the whole bus.

White people are having it!

Even the middle class ones are rich. More than the richest black diamond. The first time you bring your wife to your parents’ house, she’ll almost be offended at the opulence. It’ll be all she can do to stop herself from starting a toyi-toyi and demanding her land back. And meanwhile you’re like, “This old place? Opulent?”

We’re all mommy’s boys

No one loves their kids like white parents do. If a white dude decides to run for body corporate, his mom will rally her whole golf club behind him, start a “Friends of Keegan” Facebook campaign, pay for posters and tell everyone he’s the next president. It’s the same with young white kids. They all get taken dead serious, even if they are four years old. If a black child speaks during a grown-up conversation, he gets a klap upside the head and told to fetch tea.

We dress like bums

You can tell how rich a white guy is because he can get away with dressing down. A white dude won’t look poor, even in rugby shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt he got for free. In fact, the downer they’re dressed, the surer you can be that they’re stinking affluent, live at the Michelangelo and drive a bulletproof Merc.

Most white guys feel no need to front

Despite all our piles of riches, and our platinum bog brushes, a lot of us white guys are embarrassed to show it off. There’s little inclination to floss that shit. A guy on a million bucks a year can quite easily choose to drive a Toyota Corolla. He’ll probably pay that thing off in six months and then start settling his home loan.

Even the ugly ones are handsome

If a black woman starts going out with a white guy, no one seems to look at him properly. Even if her man looks like Happy Sindane, if he can pass for white, her aunts will halala like she’s hooked up with RJ Benjamin. “Yuh! Ujola nomlungu!” Her dad will still be asking for bottles of lobola whisky four years after the wedding.

We all want to be Johnny Clegg

We’re all on a quest to find our inner African. Bring us to a Xhosa clan function and we’ll willingly don a bead headband, smear imbola all over our face and force down six tots of brandy, as long as you tell us, “it is part of our custom”.

We all vote DA

Sure, you will never catch us wearing a DA T-shirt. But Helen and the guys didn’t get 19% of the vote without every single white person on the roll dutifully ticking the blue box. It’s got something to do with potholes and Cape Town.

We can braai

We do get props here. White okes can braai a chop. We will lovingly monitor every minute that our meat spends on the grill, poking and flipping those suckers like precious, meaty little playing cards in a game of braaivleis solitaire. Black guys will burn the chicken black as a brake pad and declare it ready.
So ladies, you feel inclined to sample the joys of the piglet (the other white meat)? Prepare yourself for delicious but scruffy braais at your mother-in-law’s palace, people dancing to Johnny Clegg like they are cutting a hedge, and a large side salad to go with that.

Like this? You’ll love these!

Marrying Black Girls For Guys Who Aren’t White

Comrade Baby And The Gateway To Hell

Buying Umbhaco For Baby 

White Boy Things

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

(46) Comments

  1. The guy at the petrol station must be making a killing.

    As long as you can do the kwasa and the latest hlokoloza, then you can skip the bus.

    I'm looking forward to your post about how to with white girls.

    Cool post.

  2. Flippen hilarious especially about white guys are always presumed handsome! Did u have to use Happy Sindane as an example. It got me cracking!

  3. hahahahahahaha i haven’t laughed so hard, dated a European white guy for four years, and its so funny how true you’re statements are. I remember when his parents first met me, as soon as i walked in the door, there was a look of utter relief when they saw i was fully clothed and spoke fluent English lmao hahahaha!

  4. Whilst you have good penmanship and it was fairly inciteful reading, you’re clearly hate being a white dude and I took umbrage at your assumption that white people have no culture to speak of.

    • A perfectly valid criticism Lesley. But after orchestrating several centuries of slavery, genocide and oppression, it does make sense for whites to battle with some self-loathing.

  5. White guys believe black girls rock in bed ,they got labias ,meaty cakes
    and these black ladies are gold diggers we all know it
    at the end of the day white guy wnt sastify a blackgirl in bed coz there are
    used to our cucumbers ,size do matter guys
    by Victor vizo
    you can hit me on facebook ill tell you more Victor vizo

  6. I can\’t get enough of your book and the blog.I\’m really starting to be too obsessed are just so hilarious,keep up the good work sir

  7. Shukela O\\\\' Brown - Reply

    Really funny!I am a black woman and has been with my white boyfriend for three years now. He recently met my grand father and he just went in for the kill and addressed him as \”grandson\”! ….I get to call his mother by her name. Other hillariously interesting dynamics!

  8. It’s fascinating, hey! Just cultures connecting. And you learn to look at your own culture with new eyes as well. Cross-cultural dating is always worth the experience!

  9. I laughed so hard infact when our parents come and there are visitors we go to the bedroom or play don’t mingle in their conversation.

  10. kwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….you remind me the first day my family met my British Boyfriend in December 2015… my granny said ‘whispering in sotho…..ka nnete ke lekgowa” lol… and my Gand dad asked him to buy for him 2 cases of hansa pilsener…
    am in stiches by ‘ her aunts will halala like she’s hooked up with RJ Benjamin. “Yuh! Ujola nomlungu!” Her dad will still be asking for bottles of lobola whisky four years after the wedding.
    oooooh hahahahahahahaha.
    GREAT ONE INDEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Hey Dolly! So I got it right, more or less? I’ve downgraded my donation from a bottle of Flight of the Fish Eagle to six Castle Lites. They are still appreciated, though!

  12. Wow dude you are good, I am enjoying your writing so much. I can relate cos I dated across the colour barriers in my younger days!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box