I’ve never lived in any renowned township or any fully fledged township either. But I have visited one if not two well recognised townships of my beloved rainbow nation.
With my observing techniques, I can without a doubt tell you that month end is a big deal in townships, not only because the thieves are out in numbers or because a group of females paying a visit to the neighbour’s house across the road is a suspected secret stokvel meeting but the mood on the streets is on a level of a different kind.
There are very short mini-skirts here, beers passing from one hand to the next there and a neighbours kid knocking on a door asking for their mother’s long overdue ‘parcel’ over there.
The jukebox is playing all the songs with a heavy bass line, inducing dance moves from the little kids playing on the streets. The spaza shop that is slowly turning into a tavern is opened for twenty four hours and by dawn, you’re bound to hear some off-tune gospel hymns sang by the now very drunk citizens.
Kombi’s are working overtime (read speeding) and giving very little if any damn at all about the potholes, your groceries spilling out of grocery bags or your head bumping the kombi’s roof everytime the kombi makes contact with a speed hump.
Gossip ring leaders are camping outside their mother’s houses scanning every passerby, their outfit, what they’re carrying and have a feast out of their personal story or just create one if there isn’t any.
Loan sharks are on every corner making sure no one crosses their line.
However, everything that happens in townships, even the ones who struggle to be townships, is the prayer of most if not all township dwellers.
This prayer is either prayed internally or in pure action, never out loud;
Our month end who is at the end of the week, hallowed be thy weekend, thy drunkenness come, thy will be done on Friday immediately after work. Give us the long queues, including our beloved KFC and forgive us Edgars for your bills will remain in arrears. Our kids shall knock on doors of those who owe us ‘parcels’. Lead us not into mashonisa’s den but deliver us at the nearest shebeen. For yours is the hangover on Sunday, skipping church and trying to catch up on sleep. The realisation come and thy weekend vanished with our money. Roads lead to ‘Pep loan’ (Capfin) for partying to ‘towner‘ has left us forgetting about our kid’s overdue school fees. We regret you for now and we shall eat bread with no butter until next month end come. Amen.
This prayer is another form of a ‘sad black story’ (there are many of those in townships of South Africa); many talents are never nurtured, too much time is wasted on nothing, skills are neglected, opportunities are missed and many (sometimes unnecessary) debts are created due to a variety of things including inferiority complex and a lack in desire to seek relevant information. Hence we solely rely on a singular source of income that is not only dissatisfactory but never enough to sustain even an average living standard. This is a pit hole we need to rise above from at a much more faster rate than we’re doing right now.