“Honey, please don’t forget to feed the dog when I’m out with Dianne for her ballet lessons”, says Joanne.
Joanne is my beautiful wife – my crown jewel. We have two wonderful, exuberant children who we raise in this amazing city of Auckland. We live in a flourishing and extremely wealthy city, with our mansion being just one of the many luxurious homes in this city. I am the head aeronautical engineer at Auckland International Airport. I am living my dream. Wow, my boy, you’ve finally made it, I think to myself. And oh, how I’ve made it.
My life has reached its pinnacle, from being a young boy marvelling at mechanics while sitting in the classroom during the Physics period, to being granted a bursary to study my desired course at university, and now finally this. I am on cloud nine, no doubt. I have a great career, a great family, and good friends and live in a stunning city. I have finally become the man that I always aspired to be as a young boy. I went from giving my mother hell when she couldn’t afford to buy me chocolate at the shops, to being a regular customer for custom-made designer chocolates.
However, as I sit here on the balcony, sipping on my pina colada while watching my cute little dog gobble up his meal, I feel something. I feel something that I never really expected to feel when I am this successful… I feel homesick. Yes, I am enjoying life. Yes, I am wealthy, with a good family and basically living my dream, but something just doesn’t feel right. It almost feels unnatural, as if I am missing something… I truly start to realise why they call it ‘home sweet home’…
As a young boy living in the dusty township of Soweto life was tumultuous. It wasn’t really always a great time, due to factors like apartheid and the resulting poverty. It wasn’t always the best life in terms of finances, but truth be told, it was a great life.
The Kasi life is indescribable. Life in eKhasi can be hard, but it is also fun. It is so many things balled up into one, but the Kasi life is definitely one thing for sure: it is home. There are no memories that compare to the memories I have of back home in the township. It was really a life of togetherness. From the moments where I would get up to mischief with my friends, playing tok-tokkie with them, while irritating the neighbours, to how I used to never give up when I wanted my crush to give me a chance, and to how my mom always shouted at me due to the noise my friends and I made when they were trying to hold their stokvel.
Soweto was a huge community, but we were all connected. Whenever you were going through a tough time, there was always someone to help you out. I remember a time when my mom had no money to buy maize-meal to cook pap, but my neighbour and his family surprised us and brought us some food that they had made. And, oh the food! Yes, living in the city comes with well-prepared food, restaurants, and buffets. And yes, sometimes eating fancy food with a fork and knife can be nice, but nothing beats the times when you used to sit down on the pavement with your friends, eating a classic township-style kota that you all chipped in to buy!
Life is an irony in itself. You start off young, eager to face the world and become an adult, but when you finally get there, you wish you could go back and do it all over again. So yes, getting a good job, driving the fancy cars and living a settled life is nice and all that, but there is always the utterly undeniable truth: there is no place like home.