What’s With The Attitude?

Temptation (say temp-tay-shuhn) noun 1 (no plural) a feeling that you want to do something that you know is wrong.
Tempting (say tempt-ing) adjective. Something that is tempting makes you want to do or have it.

We can tempt others to do something, or we can tempt ourselves. This temptation lies within us. Our mind tells us that maybe we can get away with something – just this once and not again.

With either form of temptation, always remember that you have the power to overcome the urge. The joy of what you are tempted to do is short-lived.

“Some people are tempted to leave their jobs, thinking there is a better one out there – a better life. But what is strange, is that they leave with no plans. No other job.”

I am on my way to the Fish Hoek train station with Sbu to take a train to Cape Town. “I think we better get going, Lungsta. We have over an hour in the train there and another back.” Sbu reminds me.

“Is Cape Town that far from here man?”

“It is either that, or our trains are a bit on the slow side.”

“Many times I have heard an apology announced on the intercom when a train is either running very late or is cancelled.”

Eish, I don’t know, Lungsta. What did you say we are having for lunch again?”

“Anything, Sbu. I just need to get my two pairs of jeans and a shirt – the rest of the money can be for lunch.”

“Have you ever had a Gatsby, Lungsta?”

“A Gatsby? What is that Sbu?”

“It is a mother of a big roll. It’s about the length of your arm, but not that thin. Brother, you need to pump some iron and put some meat on those bones.”

“Thank you, Sbu. Feed me this thing and it might help you know.”

“I can help you with supplements too, Lungsta boy. Chicks will find you irresistible.”

“What, steroids? Sorry, but I am not taking drugs.”

“It is not drugs, you twit.”

“Well, Sbu, if it does not happen naturally I might as well stay this way. This is my natural body and I’m happy with it.”

“I am trying to picture you in a vest, Lungsta – you must be like a CD.”

“You know this is a first, Sbu. Thank you, but can we unpack temptation again?”

“You need to unpack less of that, and pack in more weights, mngan’ wami – my friend.”

“Well, Sbu, you remind me of my friend Zuko from the village when you start talking like that.”

“Why? Are there fly guys like me in the village?”

“You know what – get over yourself, Sbu.”

“I have a feeling I’m in for a lesson.” Sbu rolls his eyes. “And I am stuck on this train with you…”

“Temptation influences our lives in many ways. First it gives that short-lived pleasure and secondly we pay for our actions.”

“Wow, Lungsta. That scares me.” Sbu says very sarcastically.

“Our peers tempt us to do things, sometimes for the fun of it or to fit in with them.”

“Lungile, asking you to take stuff to make your body bigger and stronger can only be good.”

“If you feel that way, Sbu. What I am saying is that others even went as far as asking me to take drugs when I got here. I said ‘no’ in a very strong unshakable voice. Temptation to stay entertained draws us in. It is cruelly camouflaged to the extent that some boys I know fell in.”

“Lungsta, where were you educated?” Sbu asked as if he did not know.

“Why is that, Sbu?”

“Dude, sometimes your words go way over my head. At times I ask myself if you are not perhaps older than me. But when I look at you I can see that jy is a laaitie.”

“You remind me of my friend. He used to call me that you know.”

“And wena – you Lungsta – what did you call him?”

“My man, you don’t wanna know. Sbu, what I am saying is that you need to free yourself from this mind seduction that has killed before and continues to kill to this day. We know that drinking at an early age may have consequences and can make us vulnerable. Yet we are so surprised when we get stabbed on the streets or, in the case of girls, get raped while drunk – not even knowing what our names are.”

“I know, Lungsta, a lady would sleep with a man and engage in sexual intercourse fully aware that she has no prevention measures, yet be so surprised when she falls pregnant or equally as bad, contracts an STD.”

“That’s what I am talking about Sbu. At the time the temptation of flesh and feeling the next person flesh on flesh is totally sexier.”

“Sbu, I understand we feel weak and allow ourselves to be tempted thinking in the back of our minds that… It won’t happen to me.”

“I am talking about sex, Lungsta, and I want that to happen to me all the time.”

“I am not very happy hearing you say you want it to happen to you all the time, Sbu.”

“Oh, are you jealous now?”

“My friend, it’s just that I want you to be in control all the time.”

“That is for stuck up boys like you, Lungsta. Me, I want women to take me and punish me.”

“Hey Sbu, I am not sure about that.”

“There we go again. Do you think you are Dr Phil, Lungsta?”

“How many times have you experienced things and told yourself – Damn, I saw that play out in my mind before it actually happened. It feels like déjà vu.”

“Yeah, Lungsta, that has happened to me – so what? Dude you worry too much.”

“I have seen the temptation of sex here in Masiphumelele and growing up in Mposiza village in Alice. It is very heavy in the youth.”

“Are the girls very hot in the village ntwana – my boy?”

“Sometimes I feel like challenging girls, Sbu. When they walk down the street in a pair of shorts – these shorts are so short we can see where her behind starts. Perhaps I should not have been looking, Sbu. The Xhosa saying ‘Imehlo lisela’ – meaning an eye is a thief – is so true. Would you, lady, walking in front of me down Terminus Road in Nyanga put your hand to your heart and say that you are truly too hot – so you had to dress like this. Or is it for attention?”

“Yeah, Lungsta, man. It is for attention.”

“Is this young woman deliberately asking me to look at her? The next thing that goes through the mind of the young when exposed to this is… Damn, I want to be part of that woman’s life.”

Sbu raises his hand and says. “That is me.” He is obviously not sure of this but he is tempted to feel this way by this tempting and daring dress code. “Why eNyanga man, have you been there?”

“Yeah, Sbu, I have a dear family that stays in Nyanga. What I am saying is that some guy might go to the extreme extent of wanting to rape the girl.”

“That is not me, Lungsta – what I do is I go up to her and ask her for her number.”

“What if she says no, Sbu?”

“No to me?” Sbu says jumping up and firmly holding a pole in the middle of the train carriage and poses. “I have not seen that happening and it never will happen – remember, Sbu has got game, Lungsta boy.”

“It is human to want and to be sexually drawn at times. But rape is not even animal, it is worse.”

“Totally agreed, Lungsta.”

I realize my voice has got louder. I am truly speaking with anger and emotions. A group of men, sitting opposite us in the train, stare at us. To my left a mountainous landscape rises while to my right blue waters wave deep into the edge of Gordon’s Bay and far out into the Indian Ocean.

“Lungsta, tone it down a bit, boet.” Sbu says. I had not taken note of any other sound but that of his voice as we were so deep in conversation.

“Sbu, you are interrupting my train of thought.”

“What the heck is that man, Lungile? We are in a train now and if you don’t shut up I might lose you through the window.”

“Ok, Sbu, stop shaking and relax. I did not think there was something you are scared of.” He had picked up that the men sitting opposite us did not agree with what we were saying. They did not look very happy.

“It looks like they are ready to kill us,” Sbu whispers in my ear.

“For what?” I shout.

“Calm down! This is bigger than you.”

I better go by Sbu’s advice, he does not get very scared easily.


Drug noun (plural drugs) 1. an illegal chemical substance that people take because it makes them feel happy or excited. 2. a chemical substance used as a medicine, that you take when you are ill to make you better.
Drug addict noun (plural drug addicts) a person who is unable to stop taking harmful drugs.

Some guys take drugs to impress girls. I have seen this. Girls like the slang the guys use and how they walk with confidence. I have seen this in the different kasis – locations around town. The way a guy intimidates others makes some girls feel that he is the boss and that he can offer her protection. The fact that he always has luxuries and the way he offers her treats makes her think that there is an overflowing pipeline of cool stuff. This girl is drawn closer to the guy.

At first there is no physical urge to do drugs. Temptation plays a very strong part here and one starts. Clubs and parties are good for letting your hair down. They are places for drinking and taking drugs. They are places for posing. People want attention for the clothes they are wearing, the car they are driving, the alcohol they are drinking. Collective temptation is the worst thing for our society. Taking the law into our own hands is part of group or collective temptation. We have witnessed how a naughty boy sometimes perceived to be criminal gets a beating from community members – sometimes to death. Communities need to be made aware that this does not solve anything and that police end up searching for community members who were involved in beating up this person. Sbu, are you with me?”

“Ha, Lungsta. How many stations to go to town?”

“I don’t believe this. You did not hear what I just said.”

“I would be lying if I said I did, Lungsta. But carry on, I will show you that I am listening.”

“What is the matter with you, Sbu?” I could understand that Sbu was still very shaky from what he thought would happen just now with the guys staring at us in that way.

“Did you hear of uNwabisa Ngcukana?”

“Who is she, Lungsta?”

“I read about her in the paper last week. I read of how she went through hell with a group of people that were supposed to be her brothers. People you would think would offer her protection. Collectively, these men were tempted to pass comments and go on as far as touching her.”

“But, Lungsta, are you for real – are you really going to talk about this again?” I get up and hold onto a half open window looking into the bay.

“This is South Africa post 1994. Freedom of Speech is in our Constitution therefore we will talk about anything.” I say this loudly so the men opposite can hear me.

I find myself thinking about these things while the train is pulling in at Cape Town station. Sbu is looking at the men that were sitting opposite us as they get off.

“Enough of the heavy talk for today, Lungsta.” He says. “Let’s go and get a Gatsby.”


Tell us what you think: What do you think about temptation? Do you agree that men who are intimidating are able to ‘get the girls’?