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Lessons from 10-year-old

23 December 2013, 20:17

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.

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