Growing up was the best years of my life. Going to school was a blast. We never assaulted teachers but we did tie up our home room teacher, Ms. Botha, with our ties when we felt we needed a break. We had the normal school fights behind the shop close to the school but never stabbed, shot or ganged up anyone. We had a sort of pride amongst brawlers. After the fight the best man won and that was it. Smoking was a big risk at school and we could get suspended if caught. We had a pass rate of 45% not 30%, and we also had plenty of school and life stresses but we never considered assaulting a teacher or suicide. We were cycling to school and went on to 50cc bikes from there, no cars, and a full tank cost less than R5.00. Our after school activities ranged from cricket, rugby or soccer in the public parks. Weekends we hung out in the shop playing 10c games or throwing mud missiles in the vlei. We would put stuff on the railway lines and watch the train wheels squash them. We built “draad” cars and went to the vlei to shoot pellet guns. At night we used to steal fruit from the neighbours and surrounds and sit talking about life and so on until my dad called us in at 9 o’clock sharp to get to bed. Our parents used to give us hidings and afterwards we would judge the jack marks and mimic the jumps and screams we gave while receiving them. My mother was the most accurate person I knew at slipper throwing and she could curve it around corners. When my brothers and I had a tiff to settle we would put on boxing gloves and make a ring with the watering hose.
We had no IPods, PSP, PS3 or nothing we had Atari or Spectrum home/TV computers to play with while the test pattern was on TV. We built rope swings over streams and ramps for our BMX bikes. We were a generation of risk takers. We also experimented with alcohol and tobacco. If my dad smoked filter cigarettes back then I probably would have started smoking in grade 7. We stole brandy from the kitchen cupboard and got wasted in the veldt to such an extent we never tried that again. We played all sorts of kissing games, spin the bottle and so on, and went skinny dipping. We did it all and survived. We had cadets in school and had military service for two years. This made us take pride in our selves and turned boys into men “ou manne”
By today’s standards we would have been boring, suicidal or completely nuts. We should not have survived. Our cots were painted in lead paints. We did not wear helmets while biking or skate boarding. We were more in the veldt with snakes, spiders and other stuff than at home. We played in normal sand not some silica washed and treated gravel. We played cricket in the streets. Sunblock was luxury and we swam in dams and rivers with no chlorine or filters. We ate home cooked food and KFC was a treat back then, no Spur’s, McDonalds, Steers and so on. We went to drive-ins to watch movies. The new generation, our future, have by the looks of things lost all respect for teacher’s fellow humans and themselves. I know this is generalising but out of a class of kids, not one stopped it.
This is just some notes on the old life and days of my youth.
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