As it happens to be the beginning of a new school year in Johannesburg, and around the country this week, I decided to get out of the office, after the last school bell rang. A walk down a busy school street, just to see how good our kids looked in their different school colours.
But my joy was short lived by a conversation I over heard, among three young boys. The bragging about the different December and January ATMs, that happened to be their fathers. One boy got new clothes and a ball, the other got a phone and the last one Nike sneakers and school trousers and shoes.
None of these three young boys had spent more than a full day with their fathers, all that time. I discovered this after I offered them the ice water I had, while waiting for their other friend under a tree. The forth boy joined the group briefly, as he was in a hurry to find his father still at his place. He was going there to ask for money for school supplies, as he had a fight with his mother the previous night when she told him she had no more money as it was January.
That boy did not want to waste too much time with us, but asked his friends to not walk home fast, for he did not want his mother to ask about his whereabouts. His friends took his backpack with them, as he took of running ahead of them. They politely thanked me for the water and followed their friend.
As I watched them disappear around the corner, I asked myself so many questions, do these fathers know what it means to have a dad in a child’s life and not just a father, do both parents realise it is no longer about them and their pity lives, don’t we dream and hope for a much more better life for our kids than ourselves, when they are born?
Yes our grandfathers and father used to go to town and never come back, before 1994 in our country, but we are here and we even get free houses, and yet we still fail to see the importance of parents that work together for the sake of their kids’ welfare. These kids did not choose to be born and they certainly are not the root cause of your unhappiness, that is all on you and the choices you made. If you knew that your pockets are deeper than the ocean, why did you ignore the free condoms and pills at the free clinics? Why do we make our kids to bare the burden of our bitter broken hearts?
Surely these four boys and the many others out there do not need just ATMs, even these out of order ones. We can do better, they are our produce after all, so, are we going to let the innocent kids walk the worse roads than us like this? At least we had the whole village helping raise us, but we have closed ourselves off and that village is no longer there for our kids. If we cannot let go of our bitterness, can we at least try to revive UBUNTU and the loving, caring same old villages?