When I was in high school, the Walkman was a thing to lust after. If you are old enough, then you know those ones with the shiny and sturdy metal cases and refined mechanical noises with electronically activated cassette heads (not mechanical pressed in buttons). The long wait for the tape to rewind to repeat the song I just listened to becomes more enjoyable by just holding the fancy and gently humming thing in my palm. When you hold one of those fancy Sony Walkmans, you feel like you are in a different world (elevated status symbol). May be it is comparable to how people feel about iPhones. I don’t feel that any more. It was about cars for a long time, but the passion went away with my youth.
My (ex) desire for the higher status symbol is miserably put to shame when I look at my youth kids in Zola. I will call this boy ‘A’. ‘A’ was raped before by his step-father’s friend. His parents are drunk all the time and fight each other with knives to claim the government child support to feed their own drinking habits. ‘A’ and his younger siblings were often left alone on the streets at night without food and I was called numerous times to help them with some food and other things. Don’t get me wrong, ‘A’ is one of my favourite kids and Helen used to give him piano lessons because he loves to rap. I was informed by Ms. Wendy on Monday that ‘A’ was caught stealing a DVD player and was beaten severely by the street committee. He is only 16. I went to him and found out that Somalians who own a tuck shop on his street asked him to steal a DVD player for them. So he did. I asked him what for? ‘A’ said, “I wanted a pair of shoes.” I asked him how much and he quietly said, “R100 ($12)”. The Somalians didn’t even pay him.