Dashiki | The pomposity of opulence does not lead to the common good

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A man wearing gloves and a face mask walks by a mural reading "Cancel Plans Not Humanity" during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on April 4, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
A man wearing gloves and a face mask walks by a mural reading "Cancel Plans Not Humanity" during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on April 4, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Apu GOMES / AFP

DASHIKI DIALOGUES


I was planning to be philosophical and deep as I comment on the pomposity of opulence that exists among the ruling class the world over, where the show of power and wealth is more important than the use of power and wealth for good.

Then I went to lie down – because issa lot. I got up feeling all discontent, saw Liverpool lost at Anfield, and was reminded that Real Madrid have been knocked out of two competitions in two games.

While kicking my deflated football against the wall, I was reminded of the time I split my pants at school.

The tear started off small after a surge of adrenaline made this chubby kiddo jump up like a rockstar with an air guitar to impress his friends.

Read: How four weeks can change everything

I heard it, and maybe others did too, but before anyone commented, a surge of blood to the head jolted me into action and a quick topic change.

I slowly backed up against the wall. Eventually, the bell rang and I remember mumbling something like, “I’ll catch up with you guys soon…”

As everyone went to class, I took mini steps like an awkward turtle to the bathroom to survey the damage. I was excited to reach the bathroom, but, as I took the last step, I heard “shhhhhrp”.

This was bad. I quickly checked if there was anyone in the bathroom and barricaded myself into a stall.

I learnt that day that distractions may help and the generosity of some humans need not be material.

The damage was a split up the back side of the pants about the size of a cigarette (no, I did not smoke in school).

It didn’t seem too bad, but I needed to hide it because my Jockeys would be exposed. I considered my options.

I had no safety pins, so do I ask a teacher for help? Hell no! I have a reputation to maintain (as a teenager thinks). I could spill some water and make it seem like my pants got spoilt? No, still embarrassing. Think!

Maybe I can chill in the bathroom till school ends? No, and I’m already late for class.

I was starting to panic and even got to the point of shedding a few tears – fear, embarrassment, the teasing of kids – it all got too much. But then I got it!

Read: A tale about lives more precious than gold

With eyes red, the straps of my backpack lowered, my pants lifted and a book “idly” held over my behind, I went to the office and claimed my eyes were uncontrollably itchy – which wasn’t actually a lie at that moment.

I stayed there till the last hour of school before they chucked me out and back to class.

Taking pity on me, my friends were so concerned about my eyes that they didn’t notice that I was either constantly seated or walking around with a book covering my backside, and don’t forget the gangster backpack swag.

Some noticed, of course, but said nothing. I learnt that day that distractions may help and the generosity of some humans need not be material.


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Muhammad Hussain 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Muhammad.Hussain@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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