We were in Primary school when one of our friend who was from “well to do family” brought a” scafftien”(Lunchbox ).
As friend, we expected him to share whatever he brought with us . our expectation were not unreasonable , he was after all our friend who knew us very well and our background .
‘The scafftien’ had sliced buttered white bread , simba chips, banana, yoghurt , apple and some lollipop.
At exactly 11:30 , The bell rang for lunch break , everyone rushed out in different direction to either buy quarter bread which we couldn’t afford , or to eat their lunch box .
We, like all other children proceeded to own usual corner with our lunchbox friend and waited as he unwrapped his lunchbox with childish anticipation , after unwrapping , he started eating without offering us anything but we waited .
From one slice of bread to the other, then the apple, the banana and before we know it , he was onto the chips , with teary eyes , licking our lips in anticipation , nothing was forthcoming .
it dawn on us at that moment that we are about to go back to class with an empty stomach , this was our friend, our neighbour with whom we share a lot , we went to the same church , played football together , hunted rats, rabbits , impalas and went fishing together etc .
We fought many boyish battles against our peers together , this is the same guy who eat in our presence without any guilt even our teary eyes did little to sway him from his evil deeds.
Our silent cry did little to make him see how deeply we wished he can come through for us , recognise our presence , see our hunger, appreciate our friendship , identify with our poverty, we sat there until he swallow his last chip , in silence , we cried for the last chip , half a banana, half slice of bread ,
we could have done just about anything for him just to get half of anything from his “scafftien”for instance we could have dusted his shoes, carried him on our back , asked him slap us on the cheek , for the slice of white buttered bread(a symbolism of good life then) but he choose to look the other way , our pain was not his , our hunger was not his , our desire not his as, he swallowed his final chip, we were overcome by grief/sorrow .
We swallowed as much saliva that day until we had nothing left under scorching heat of Limpopo.
Our friend ‘s behaviour was unbecoming of a friend , of a neighbour , leader by virtue of relative riches and he was not worthy of our friendship, defence and we made it known ,
We disassociated with him for weeks until he realized the errors of his ways , we played with him no more , stop visiting him at his house , banned him from coming to our house, he yearned for our friendship and we were nowhere to be found until he understood that , it doesn’t matter how many toys he has , he still need someone to play with, someone to appreciate his new toys, someone to laugh with , someone to outshine .
We were only Ten - but today Millions of rands are stolen from state coffers in the face of poverty in every part of this country , we continue to defend the indefensible , consolidated friendship , elevate mediocrity and laugh at face of the poor and downtrodden and the audacity to call such our people”
How I wish I can be Ten AGAIN.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.