I was born at Chris Hani Baragwaneth Academic Hospital in Gauteng. I was bred in one of Soweto’s townships named Diepkloof. I am proud of my humble beginnings. I lived in a street where all children got along very well, we were as tight as ice particles. We were all equal and no one was superior to the other except, of course, when trouble brewed.
We used to play outside on the streets, climbed trees and made swings with ropes. We used to play tins and skipping rope every day after school. We seldom ate fast foods, but we very well knew jam and peanut butter with brown bread and black tea, it simply was never questionable. We never had a dull day because we had many alternative games to play apart from those mentioned above. We also played paper dolls, isigusha and when it got dark we would play hide and seek.
We would share everything such as snacks, water and soda with our mucky hands. We played till it was dark, and the street lights were our curfew or when you were called at home. We used to welcome spring by splashing each other with water. We were simply care-free and free-spirited beings.
We used to steal food from home, each one of us would bring anything from salt to potatoes, rice and anything we could get our hands on, only to take it with tins at another’s home if the coast was clear of adults. At some point, during the day when we were tired, we would just sit down as a group and start gossiping about each and every one passing by. We used to play school, some of us would be teachers while the others were learners and it really was good because we learnt a lot from each other.
Our street was livelier than the other neighbouring ones, so we always attracted the other children to come play with us and this made us proud as the children of the street. We regarded ourselves as superior in the category of a street that never has anything to do or play. We were creative thinkers, our minds worked harder than what our ages permitted.
I had a great childhood and I would not trade it for anything in the world. Those were the best years of my life. I had no problems, stresses and decisions to make. My daily routine was to go to school, learn, make friends and eat. Then go back home to eat more, make more friends and play even more. I believe the childhood years are the years that mold a child, the years where children are allowed and expected to make mistakes. Childhood years remain the best years for me.
Tell us: What childhood memories come to mind after reading this essay?