Longing for childhood games on the street

2018-06-12 06:00

Walking through the neighbourhood of Wynberg recently, what a refreshing sight to witness some youngsters playing outside.

Yes, many of us remember doing that. Do you?

Do your kids know the joys of playing in the open?

Getting dirty, picking up a scrape or two, perhaps a bruise, just to dust it all off and start all over the next day? No mobile phones, no video games, no computers. And no, times were definitely not boring.

Back in the day it seemed much safer but here were little ones blissfully unaware of the many modern dangers.

Sad, really, that these dangerous elements are around. Perhaps the youngsters were aware but chose to be outside and enjoy doing what children are supposed to do: play. Mind you, the safety of home was close by, I would think.

Playing marbles! Yes, the game of striking little multicoloured glass balls around in the sand. I was quite a player back then, with my favourite “guttie” and “goen” and one or two “pen eyenies” which would disappear into the sand occasionally, to be found later using a magnet! The games consisted of two types of competition: “houwie” or “tjoemmie” with the former being for the real “manne” where the ownership of your marbles was at risk while the latter was the more friendly version.

Many a time some of us returned home with more marbles than we had started out with and then politely told (forced) by Mom to return the surplus. No amount of arguing that you had won fair and square was to be tolerated. The marbles were to be returned to the youngster next door. “But Mom...”

Strange how the terms given were mainly of an Afrikaans nature?

And random words to suit the occasion. But this was a time of innocence and none could be accused of not being politically correct.

Would I be challenging these youngsters to a duel? Would I run home and fetch my bag of marbles to do battle? The mind is willing, but the body... that’s another story. I’m in Cape Town, I’ll be the ceremonial player!

Maghmood Allie, Plumstead

Walking through the neighbourhood of Wynberg recently, what a refreshing sight to witness some youngsters playing outside.

Yes, many of us remember doing that. Do you?

Do your kids know the joys of playing in the open? Getting dirty, picking up a scrape or two, perhaps a bruise, just to dust it all off and start all over the next day? No mobile phones, no video games, no computers. And no, times were definitely not boring.

Back in the day it seemed much safer but here were little ones blissfully unaware of the many modern dangers. Sad, really, that these dangerous elements are around. Perhaps the youngsters were aware but chose to be outside and enjoy doing what children are supposed to do: play. Mind you, the safety of home was close by, I would think.

Playing marbles! I was quite a player back then, with my favourite “guttie” and “goen” and one or two “pen eyenies” which would disappear into the sand occasionally, to be found later using a magnet! The games consisted of two types of competition: “houwie” or “tjoemmie” with the former being for the real “manne” where the ownership of your marbles was at risk while the latter was the more friendly version.

Many a time some of us returned home with more marbles than we had started out with and then politely told (forced) by Mom to return the surplus.

Strange how the terms given were mainly of an Afrikaans nature? And random words to suit the occasion. But this was a time of innocence and none could be accused of not being politically correct.

Would I be challenging these youngsters to a duel? Would I run home and fetch my bag of marbles to do battle? The mind is willing, but the body... that’s another story. I’m in Cape Town, I’ll be the ceremonial player!

Maghmood Allie, Plumstead

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