THE BIRTH OF A STREET KID (TSOTSI)
Being a keen reader of news forums, I have encountered a lot of public criticism with regard to the handling of street kids that are roaming around the streets of many South African cities. The majority if not all are in agreement that assisting these kids either by offering them money or food, neither helps their situation but exacerbates it and it should be refrained from.
I am torn in between the above statement on the notion by the public regarding the street kids, however I have the following true story to share.
In the neighbourhood I lived in for eight years, my next door neighbour had four kids aged fourteen, eleven, five and four. In my whole life I have never heard someone who swears like her so loud and infront of her kids. Such horrible words I can never write here. By the way, she forever mentions it to whoever cares to listen that she is divorced and therefore now a single struggling parent. She smokes and drinks and sometimes as neighbours we would have no peace on weekends as her friends would visit and dance the night out on full blast volume. They even sing along, while the kids are there too.
What then touched me is the way in which she would lock her kids on weekdays in the house during evenings, and walk away until the wee hours of the next morning. So much noise and chaos by the kids unsupervised, crying and shouting and even swearing at each other like their mother would.
Whenever I returned from work my neighbour’s kids would greet me so passionately and I would have a small conversation with them. But, they will never forget to ask me to give them something to eat. I offered them whatever I had, knowing that kids will be kids whether hungry or full they will still ask for something just out of interest. I noticed that if their mother was not around they would even enter my yard before I closed my gate, and spell it out that they were hungry. They will say “please uncle would you give us something to eat”.
Not long after that more neighbours would bring loafs of bread, different dishes and so forth. It means a lot of people had seen the painful plight of these kids.
If than these hand-outs were not there what were these kids going have as their meal for the day. How then does it stop them from running away from home and becoming street kids, beggars at intersections, glue sniffers and later tsotsis. Then in my view this scenario in this home is actually conducive for the birth of a street kid, caused by the mode of operation enforced by the parent. This is the birth of the street kid.
I therefore conclude that it is not always the case where street kids are unruly kids who do not want to take orders from their parents. Sometimes it is us as parents who give birth to street kids who later become tsotsis in their lives. Not all street kids beg on street intersections because they are under the influence of glue, some beg because they are destitute, really hungry and had nothing to eat for days.
It still puzzles me why I my town I have never seen a white street kid. I am not saying they are not there in other bigger towns. Is there a different special way in which white people do it when it comes to the nurturing of their kids. Please pardon me if I am politically incorrect, it is not my intention; but someone has to ask questions like these. If that is the case then all race groups affected by this plague of street kids should learn a lesson from white people.
I do not want to be an armchair critic or analyst, hence I have identified a home that deals with street kids in my town and I have asked to voluntarily offer my assistance and services to them. I want to make a positive difference to these young lives, because for all I was taught, we are all made in the image of God. So we as human race ought to assist where we deem fit and see the need, more so if we have the means to do so. I dream of kids that are surrounded by love and warmth, who are to be assisted in unleashing their potential of becoming what they might be in their lives. Then my next writing on street kids should be the rehabilitation of street kids to meaningful contributors to society, as opposed to: the birth of a street kid that you have just read.