Someone complained on the radio the other day that blacks are generally a loud lot compared with our non-black compatriots.
Of course we are loud, and proudly so. I am no sociologist, but it could be because we have nothing to hide.
And more importantly, it is fun to sit in a third-class train coach and hear all the details of the yakety-yak several people away while you pretend to be engrossed in the newspaper in front of you.
A train ride a couple of weeks ago provided such an escape. It opened my eyes to the horrific reality of being a teacher these days. Sitting a couple of metres away from me a group of women on their way to work in Lenasia had a spirited chat about their children and their schooling.
One of them, a scrawny, tiny woman with bloodshot eyes, bragged about how she told off a teacher who had failed her child.
"I said to her, 'hey woman, yessis, whose child is this? This child is very clever. You have no right to make him fail. This child is passing, or I am going to claim you'."
She went on to relate how she advised the teacher to go and do her ablutions.
As she warmed to her story, her companions enthusiastically agreed and were just short of applauding.
I could not make out if the "clever"boy was eventually passed or not.
I know several teachers very well and they assure me that it is quite a mission to fail a non-performing child these days.
In the higher grades, I am told, it is well nigh impossible for a teacher to move a pupil from higher grade to lower grade, even if it is obvious that the child is never going to scrape through.
But today the situation has calmed down a lot. A few years ago a couple of teachers in a tavern related a hair-raising incident during the exams.
One of the men told how a boy writing an exam produced a firearm, wiped it off, and put it in front of him. He then took out a textbook and proceeded to crib the answers.
No, meneer did nothing. In fact, he did not even complain to the headmaster or anybody. If anything had gone wrong for the gun-boy, the teacher would have been dead meat.
What a story. I got that too, thanks to loud blacks.