South African President Jacob Zuma has sparked off a controversy by saying that the idea of having a pet is part of 'white culture'.
According to The Star newspaper, Zuma said that people should instead focus on family welfare.
The president's office sought to clarify his remarks, saying he was encouraging "the previously oppressed African majority" to uphold its own culture, the New York Post reports.
During his speech to an appreciative crowd in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma's home province, the president said people who love dogs more than people have a "lack of humanity" and that some people are trying in vain to "emulate whiteness."
In a statement, the South African presidency said Zuma was trying to convince Africans to take pride in their heritage and not feel pressure to adopt customs of minority cultures.
Animals can be cared for, was the message, but not at the expense of people, it added. (ANI)