As time passes by, so does life. One minute it’s all fun and games the next it’s not. I remember the days were I had no problems, no worries at all. All I had to do was wake up, eat, play, sleep; that was my daily routine. That was my life, simple yet so enjoyable.

Now every morning I wake up, I am bond by society to look “cool” at all times, to abide by their laws “The Rules To Keep Up”. I don’t know this place I live in now, this isn’t the same place I used to play at, this isn’t the same place I used to run around with a smile on my face, and this is definitely not the same place I used to call home. My friends and I liked to sit under a big Amarula tree, promising each other that we would grow up being friends, that we would stick together no matter what and that we would overcome all our challenges together. Now I can’t even recall the last time I spoke to any of them, we fulfilled none of our promises.

We went opposite ways. I believe that it was a time in our lives where we had to make a decision, a decision that would lay the foundation on which our futures were to be built. Unfortunately we didn’t have the same taste in material. They went with drugs, alcohol, and crime. I can’t say I blame them; it’s the easiest route nowadays. And it sure is fun, living without limits or restrictions, doing what you want, when you want. But where there is no law, there’s no order and where there’s no order there’s no progress. I didn’t want that, and that is why I decided to follow the route of education. I decided that it would be better to use knowledge and wisdom to lay a foundation for my future. It is not the easiest or the most fun way to spend your childhood, but it’s the most rewarding.

Around every corner of this place I am forced to call my home, is a young African child filling their lungs with smoke, and quenching his thirst with alcohol. They are all over the place like moths to a flame, one by one all destined for failure. It brings up one question “When will it end?” I am called awful names because I choose a book over a cigarette, because I believe that “Knowledge is power.” They don’t care about going to school, so they vandalize them. Why is my voice not heard? Why are my needs neglected? Is it because majority rules the needs of the many over the needs of the few, is that fair though? With the scent of poverty in the air choking the life out of us, and the chains of ignorance holding us back, will we ever find true freedom?

Steve Biko once said, “Black men you are on your own.” And unfortunately it is true. The young who are the future of the nation, are chasing worthless things like recognition from their peers, a sense of belonging and material possessions. Crime is a trend here and I am not a follower of it, for that reason I am regarded as an outcast. But honestly I do not mind because my struggle today is my salvation tomorrow. This is the place I call home, but it doesn’t feel like home at all.