Monday, March 27, 2017
The Adventures of Mthimba the cynic
I guess I had always been a cynical fellow. When I flip my mind back there had always been those moments when I felt like giving someone a piece of my mind or rather giving the internal workings of my mind some oxygen...a breathing space, that is. Social graces and decorum had been the only things that sometimes held me back. Well, since this is a private space I guess I can vent between the confines of this blog. Since they are opinions you are not expected to go along with them. They are not the gospel truth. They're just plain opinions given by life to every human being. With that out of the way, I think I should begin to tell you what my gripe is. Well, I started forming opinions about Sowetans (those who come from SOWETO in Johannesburg)when I first met them in their numbers along the hallways of academia. From then on I started paying attention. To their mannerism and their world view. Upon meeting such enterprising fellows you are quickly made aware of the fact that they come from South Africa's most famous township. Their quickness to point out they are from SOWETO, ALEXADRA or Vosloorus did not escape me back then. For, you know, it is important to let you know where they come from. AS if yourself you come under a rock. As if the area where you come from there no townships. Sowetans! .The love they have for their place is unparalled. That's number one. The number two mistake done by these interesting specimen of humanity is to try to keep up with the Kunenes. In the same way as keeping with the Joneses is...especially those I met at Varsity. I remember one incident at my friend, Biggie's residence, which was just across WITS University on Jorissen street.Graduate Lodge is the name of the student abode. We were just popping in at my friend's room to pick up something when I overheard some girl screaming "Coakroaches! Oh my gosh coakroaches in my room!!".The young woman was giving the Supercare cleaning ladies some hard time. That she was no way sleeping in that room unless it was squeaky clean. I was like " who comes from Soweto and can honestly say she/he does not know a coakroach?". I can say with some authority that the girl was from Soweto or somewhere in Gauteng because I once overheard her making disparaging remarks about students who hail from the shacks in Alexandra and elsewhere. To quote the moron verbatim, she went "yhuu abantwana aba buya emkhukhwini ba ya funda yaz!"( Eish, you know stundents form the shakcs study hard). Well, the foolish girl was telling the world or who cared to listen in no uncertain terms that she was not from the shanties and was definitely no working class. Her voice, heavy with lower middle class smugness, the girl was telling the world that she was not putting that much effort in her studies like those from the shacks because she does not feel pressured at all by her family circumstance. She was middle class basking in material opulence. On point number three I got to experience the shallowness and stupidity of Sowetans in the line of work.That is when I became aware of how deep- seated the problem is. I think when you start working you have amassed some modicum of maturity honed by the four years of University studies. That is the belief , at least. Apparently, I am continuing to be disappointed, let alone being let down. It was on this particular day in September 2016 when I was in the company of these airheads in Grahastown. We were there on a research field work. To say that I was in the company of anal -retentive will be an understatement. Our driver, wait for it...she was from Soweto! From the first day there we were bombarded with blaring music coming form our car in the early hours of the morning. The type of music unsuited for that hour. Some fool by the name of Babes Wodumo. Jesu Christ! My beef was-why can't the music be played at a tolerable level and to everyone's taste? Why can't there be not respect for others? For us who were also travelling in the car? That question I am afraid I cannot answer even to this day. It made us look very immature. Attention-seeking fools who would not differentiate between good musical taste and crap. It did not just end there. I remember one day I was very thirty and needed water. I decided to get tap water from our B&B. You know what? One of the morons quipped "hey Joe, are you not afraid that you gonna get sick by drinking that water?". I was like what the fu***ck? Can't this fool see the locals are healthy? What makes her think this clean, piped water' s gonna make me sick? The locals showed no signs of diarrhea or any water borne disease. The moron, by implication was saying I should be drinking bottled water because the quality of the local water was questionable according to her. It was on the tip of my tongue to remind the assh**le that back in Johannesburg we drink tap water. I mean we watch the news and if the quality of the local water was such that one can get sick it would have been covered by the media. Our news hounds could have known those basic facts and notified the authorities. What make her think that the water quality of Johannesburg and Soweto was better and different than any other area in South Africa escaped me. It happen then that in our three-week in Grahamstown one of the fools was celebrating her birthday. Like any other shallow, social- media- worthy news unworthiness it began with much fanfare...drinks, cakes and all the required rigmarole. True to form, the whole tomfoolery was put on Facebook and Instagram. There we were grinning for the camera as photos were taken and uploaded. Soon we were trending. The very same boring airhead said after a while "Yho! my friend back in Joburg had commented that what kind of a house is this that we are based in. It looks cheap and low class". By then it was on the tip of my tongue to make everyone aware that Orlando East, Mzimhlophe (White City), Meadowlands, etc have much worse and dilapidating houses but I kept my peace. Point four: We were then now in Khayaelitsha- Cape Town, but then we visited various township to get the feel of the place. Gugulethu, Nyanga,Langa, etc. This time around I was with a different set of fools. Fools who put people in pigeon holes. You know, the know-it -all type. who passed value judgments on everything and everyone. They commented about the local dress sense, hairstyles and places of entertainment. Everything. The subtext being that everything is way below Joburg's Soweto sartorial standards. Maybe you could ask what is my gripe with all of this? Let me try to elaborate. Granted. We came from the golden city and the bright lights of Jozi so what? You may ask. My idea of travel is to have new experiences and be exposed to different ways of life. If the expectation is to carry Joburg with me wherever I go then how the hell should I travel? Why don't I stay put in the land of "milk and honey" that is Soweto or Gauteng? Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion. It does not seek to discredit any particular individual.