Grow up or go home

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Some people were always shy to mention their age in class and I never understood why until years later I realised that they were actually topitjies and zalietjies and didn’t want to be ridiculed for being released by Ouma from the village in their teens. Those days there were hardly kindergartens and you just came straight out of the goat kraal into the classroom – how shocking. But since there was no age restriction, you could share a grade with someone eight years older than you.

There was really not much difference when it came to the older kids’ level of IQ as opposed to the snotneuse, but they were always more popular. They could snatch your jam bread at pouse and you just had to shut your mouth and watch as they chowed it up, because you would walk home with a bloedneus if you dared to report them.

But we admired their maturity, because while they were bozzas of the classroom, they would protect you from ferocious street bullies at the same time. Their juvies were always on point and many were star athletes, which made them the more popular among the ‘honeys’ – if you know what I mean. There were many sharp lessons we learned from the older kids, but for the sake of this page I won’t say much, because you never know who else is reading this column.

Now that I have given you the background of what I want to say, I want to know what happened to some people since then. When we used to joke that ‘I am not going to add any more digits after my 25th birthday’ or that ‘age is nothing but a number’, we didn’t mean it literally, okha. We meant that you should not take the fun out of your life, nor should age break your spirit for laughter, for a little childishness and naughtiness.

But it also meant that you should start planning your life more carefully, because you aren’t getting any younger and you don’t want to wake up at 50 and wonder, huuuuuu Elotse….where did the last 25 years of my life go? That’s why the expression ‘work hard and play hard’ is not a coincidence. If you are one of those older mamachulas or papachulas who is hiding their age, because age caught up with you but you didn’t grow any wiser and your state of mind is still 20, then I can only wince in sympathy.

That’s why I was shocketted when I saw that one katoppie introducing a new political party wearing a decent blazer and tie, but judas, those jean shorties that he probably picked out from the laundry basket was just something else. I know times are hard and we can’t all afford nice clothes, but some things are basic vakuetu. Couldn’t he have borrowed long pants from his brother or cousin just for that serious event?

I suspect that he must have worked in an NBC studio at one point and saw how news anchors dress because only their top body is shown and even if they could be wearing nothing underneath, no one would know – that’s television. But in the business of print, things work differently and if you expose yourself that way, that’s how people would perceive you. No pun intended, but how is anyone going to take you seriously when you come into a press conference looking like you just sleepwalked in? When it’s time to play, we can all run into Zoo Park and jump on the swings, kick a ball or laugh out loud, but when it’s time for serious business, let’s show our level of maturity and wisdom. Grow up. Sorry Ngo!
mnunuhe@gmail.com

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