Being born during the height of apartheid one got to experience the good and the bad side of the township from seeing police brutality, domestic violence and stabbings to experiencing township wedding parties and listening to beautiful old stories told by my grand mother, and for some reason I did not see how serious the situation was until I got out of the place, I guess this was because I was brought up surrounded by love and caring.
I’m reminded of my high school years when this guy was asked by the teacher what career he wanted to pursue after finishing high school and without hesitation he answered ” Taxi Driver”. And as years went past the guy did become a taxi driver after high school of course.
The interesting part however is that the taxi industry is known for being extremely violent and invariable attracting people of the same mentality. Taxi drivers are known for example reckless driving and whenever taxi wars ensues, there will surely be blood shed and you want to stay as far as possible from the townships or taxi rank until you are sure by way of radio and newspapers announcements or news that their issues have been resolved.
Well without delving too much into the taxi industry which itself has its foundations on violence and corruption we must not forget to pay attention to: Who is the taxi driver really? where is he coming from? and what kind of upbringing did he have?
The answer given by that guy in my classroom did not come as a surprise to many of us because besides him being known for being the naughtiest by making fun of everyone and talking too much, he had a very poor academic record and he was the oldest in the class, you also did not want to be in the wrong footing with him if you did not want to be the laughing stock of the class for the year. Knowing he was an orphan raised by his grand mother I would guess his academic record had something to do with his background.
However today the same guy is a very popular radio dj even doing some charity work with different organizations.
This got me thinking again, how many people are struggling to make ends meet and are blaming their upbringing for what they have become but, does one’s upbringing really say a lot about who they are today? Can we really blame the past for where we are as a country ? these questions opened my mind because the key really lies within us all.