The right to your own thoughts and beliefs is pretty easy to understand, but it can be a nuisance when perceived differently. Hi, I’m ten year old Sizwe and this is my story.
“Sizwe! Your breakfast is ready,” Mom shouts out, as I rush to the kitchen, washed and ready for the day.
“Morning Ma,” I greet her.
“Morning, my boy. Ready for today?” Mom smiles as she chokes me with one of her motherly smothery hugs.
“Is there something happening today?” I’m confused.
“Yes, we’re celebrating Freedom Day,” Mom answers.
“Uhm… Freedom?” I ask impassively.
“Yes, you do know what freedom is to you, right?”
“Oh, and what is freedom?” she scrutinises me suspiciously.
“Is everyone ready?” I am saved by the neighbour, Mrs Johnson, holding a bowl of cookies. While Mom answers Mrs Johnson, I quickly make my escape.
Afraid to admit it, I didn’t really know what freedom was to me and that was the day’s quest¬; find freedom’s meaning.
On my way down the street I meet Jake, a reserved boy who gave off an offish tone. A long vest literally hanging on his body, small circular glasses, and his Mohawk were his defining look.
“What is freedom to you?” I rush the question, avoiding my inquisitive nature of judging his personality.
“I don’t know bruh,” he answers looking surprised. “Why do you wanna know?” Jake is curious.
“I just want to know,” I’m being loyal to my secret quest.
Jake and I proceed to walk further down the street to meet that group of boys who like ‘busting rhymes’. We manage to steal one of the boys from the crowd. 20 cents… out of all the names a rap lover could choose, he goes for 20 cents. That’s the name Lwazi wants us to use when calling him in public.
Again I avoid my judgmental questions, going with my curious persona instead.
“Do you know what freedom is to us youth?”
“Naa…” 20 cents answers; I think he found the question weird.
Jake, 20 cents, and I were now making our way to the mall to answer this question. We now meet Chan, sitting outside her uncle’s clothing store; she had pink hair. Konichiwaa is the first thing she said, and luckily Jake knew some Chinese.
“She means hello,” Jake says smiling. I think he likes her.
“Ask her if she knows the meaning of freedom to us youth,” I’m beginning to get annoyed by the déjà vu in this situation. After a rather long conversation with Chan, Jake comes up with a “She doesn’t know” answer.
Conceding a failed quest, I take all my new friends back home with me to celebrate freedom day, just for agreeing to help.
“So, do you know what freedom is, Sizwe?” Mom, looking straight into my eyes the moment I get home, asks.
“No,” I answer, disappointed.
“But you found the meaning,” Mom is suddenly ecstatic, glaring at my friends. Before I could ask why, she answers me.
“All these new friends of yours represent freedom; the one with circular glasses, the girl with the pink hair and…
“The boy with the ‘ambitious’ rap name,’’ I continue her sentence with a new sense of understanding.
We are all different and we like different things, such is our freedom of diversity. Looks like I did solve my quest after all.