The minute I finished my speech at the Algeria Book Fair last week I was mobbed by admirers, wishing to shake hands with me.
Thankfully, because of the language barrier - I'd delivered my talk in English, aided by a woman who translated into Arabic - the after-speech admirers did not have much to say to me. But two men persisted in their shaky English.
The older man said: "Is first time I shake hand with an African." The younger man echoed: "Me too."
"Wait a minute," said I, "Where are you guys from?"
"Algeria, of course," they said almost in unison. Suppressing my laughter, I said, "But, gentlemen, Algeria is in Africa. So you are Africans!"
They looked startled. The younger man was the first to blush.
"But of course we are African."
We had a good laugh about this. The chaps were not being nasty. In fact, what they were saying resonated with me because not so long ago, at the Essence Literary Festival in Durban last month, the deputy mayor Fawzia Peer welcomed guests to the festival, singling out people from "out there in Africa".
She spoke about Africans - who, in her analysis, did not include South Africans.
I guess you've had occasions where your friends or family talk about "going to Africa" as if South Africa is not part of the continent.