Tag Archive: comment


Birthdays

Birthdays are funny things really.

44 years ago I did nothing heroic. My mother did all the work. And in my case a few doctors were involved and we both nearly died and my non-emotional dad told my mother he loved her for the third time only. Ever! (odd man he was – he said he told her once and that was the state of being and he would tell her only if it changed. Which in some weird way I get.)

I do get that it was a big day.

But the point is that of all the people involved, I did the least. Mom pushed and was sliced, dad paced and was worried, aunt looked after brother who was overjoyed at a sibling. All I did was get yanked out and screech. And I managed to be a girl which was the plan all along.

 

But again – I did nothing

 

And yet, every year on the 2nd November I get gifts and treats and congratulations. ‘Well done’ says everyone, ‘let us all celebrate the day on which you did the least you have ever done in your life.’ And at the same time let us not even consider the people who did all the work. Or really, the pushing, sweating, in-pain mother who did everything.

 

So, while I love the gifts and never want them to stop coming, today I sent my mom flowers.

‘Thanks for having me’

 

I think we should all do this on our birthdays – cos we should really be thanking them

crime

Us South Africans love crime. We do! We claim not too and threaten to leave on a weekly basis. But underneath it all … we love it!

We get off on living in such a dangerous place. We love that we can watch movies showing the violence of the ghettos – and feel a kinship. That Ross Kemp came to interview our gangsters as part of his Discover series makes us proud. ‘Look’ we all think ‘We are as bad ass as the best’.

 I swear we minded a little that America got the 9/11 horror!  We haven’t had a good violent mass killing in ages. Our terrorists were so….beige in comparison. And now we are all rainbow nation, holding hands while our sports teams frolic through international defence.

 We NEED our crime to remain butch and solid. Without it, what excuse exists for khaki shorts and long socks? To whom should we pledge alliance if not to the fight against crime? It unites us and makes us feel like superheros.

 And Johannesburg dwellers lead the charge. EVERYone knows someone who has been directly affected by crime. If not, what kind of a woes are you? Just please just make up a story so we think you fit in.

 The stories. Oh the stories. I love the stories of crime that float around dinner tables and water coolers. I have heard the same story go from being a guy waving what might have been a gun at some people at a traffic light to a full blown failed hi-jacking with bullets and anti-white slogans flying through the air. The stories grow and grown, embellishment by embellishment. Even the protagonist of the story will let this happen without comment cos he gets tougher by the telling!

 We claim to hate the crime and yet give it more air time than any other issue. Victims eat out on their story for ages, perpetrators caught and punished feature on Carte Blanche and start funds to educate township kids. We all wallow in the possibility of post traumatic stress disorder and love to see images of strikes and taxi violence on CNN.

 But how many of us actually try to change anything? We put higher gates and walls around us; we electrify our surroundings and pay armed guards to patrol. We anti hi-jack our cars and teach our kids what to do when a man points a gun in mommy’s face. We make ourselves safe so we can have the dinner parties at which we discuss crime.

 But do we tackle the real problem? How many of us have contributed towards the education of a child other than ours? How many of us feed someone we don’t actually know? How many of us have taught a single other human being how to read, write or count?

 We don’t. We do nothing. We sit behind our walls, remote controls with panic buttons clasped firmly in our fat little hands, and we moan about what this country is coming to.

 Cos we love the crime! Without it, we may actually have to talk to each other. And we are not mature enough for that yet!