Brandon and I were trolling around Piazza Castello the other day, chatting away as we walked, when something I will never forget happened. You see, there was a rather tall and dreadlocked individual decked out in raggedy clothes and carrying tribal beads ahead of us on the sidewalk. Randomly, he wheeled around and began excitedly talking to us in very rapid Italian. Needless to say, we were a little taken aback and had no idea how to respond. He apparently noticed this and asked us in Italian if we were from Scandinavia, to which we couldn’t help but laugh. When we had made it clear we weren’t Scandinavian, he decided we must be Afrikaans to which we retorted “No, siamo Americani.” (No, we are Americans)

His eyes immediately sprang wide open in amazement and he got really, really excitable. He started giving us high fives and handshakes as he introduced himself. Apparently his name is D’Kaab and he is some form of African Peace Soldier from a now extinct country in South Africa. We guess at the Peace Soldier status since he kept asking us to come to a rally in Milan or downtown Torino (didn’t quite understand where) the next day. He said we should come show our “support for da movement” for a better, more peaceful, Africa. He then began asking us all kinds of questions about America and voiced his admiration for our country because “it is beautiful place with no racism. Everybody love everybody like a brotha.”

He was quite excited to meet us and decided we were his new “White African brothas” and pulled two small turtle figurines out of his pocket. He presented them to Brandon and I as “a gift from da ‘eart to my new White African brothas.” He then gave each of us more handshakes and hugs, and a few minutes later we said our goodbyes to D’Kaab.

I’m still not sure what to make of this exchange. However, I’m sure every time I look on my bookshelf and see that carved, ruby red, turtle I’ll think of my new African brother; D’Kaab.