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Youngsters fear nothing if 'tough talk' is the only punishment

By unknown | 2006-12-13 00:00:00.0

The major problem with this country is that our lives are run by people who have no inkling about the South African way of life.

The major problem with this country is that our lives are run by people who have no inkling about the South African way of life.

Many of these well-meaning folks skipped the country in the days of yore and spent a considerable chunk of their lives in the so-called First World, imbibing foreign cultures that are as alien to ours as chalk is to cheese.

They are now happily ensconced in positions of power and charged with making and administering legislation that binds us all.

Where am I going? Here: the bugbear of the moment is crime, crime and more crime.

Strange that I should say it, because a column or so ago I wrote that the hysteria about crime was uncalled for - not that crime levels were acceptable.

I eat my words, not least because of the brutal murder of Avhatakali Netshisaulu, the son of a colleague and old buddy, Mathatha Tsedu.

But then what do you expect in a country that bans corporal punishment but expects our young folk to grow up fearing dire consequences for wrongdoing?

My old man gave me six of the best or more once in a while and, when I was at school, teacher Shadrack Modise did it for him.

"I want to make you a man, Charles!" was Modise's mantra.

If that has destroyed me, I don't realise it - and honestly, I am loving the destruction.

Of course, Meneer seemed to derive some sadistic pleasure out of whipping my bum.

He would lay the foundation for that by writing on my report card at the end of every term: "Charles is under the influence of bad company."

That bad company was people who are now leading lights in our community: advocates, attorneys, doctors, entrepreneurs.

We are, thanks to our highly-educated, de-Africanised legislators, expected to useother forms of punishment to deal with boys taking guns to school and raping their classmates.

Other forms means laughable stuff like suspension from class.

Imagine this: "Charles, you have not done your homework. Your punishment is that I won't have you in my class for a week."

Hell, I would have loved that! It would be a chance to stroll down the township streets, maybe go down to the bioscope and do a whole lot of things my old man would not let me do at home.

Or, if at home and I had not done my chores, my father bellowed: "Go to your room and sleep!"


We are told that it will traumatise children if you give them a little hiding.

In fact, children have the right to lay charges against their parents if they are so much as touched.

I don't have the right to bring up my children the way I deem fit because some English-raised and schooled snob has decreed that my methods are criminal.

So our children grow up fearing nothing, knowing that the worst that can happen to them if they flout the rules is to hear some "tough" talk (which, by the way, they have the right to refuse to listen to) and maybe miss out on some playtime.

Sorry folks, on that score, our world-renowned constitution leaves me ice cold.