SOME time ago a reader responding to a series of columns I had written for Sowetan's brother paper (why should it be sister paper - or should I rather say sibling paper and be politically correct?) wrote in to say I was a grumpy old fart who has a problem with the youth.
That was long before they invented Julius Malema and words like boy-child and girl-child, so it had nothing to do with today's brand of politics.
The reader said I was always railing against the indiscretions of young people and must have had a particularly traumatic upbringing that made me bitter towards young people.
An open letter I wrote to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga two weeks ago made me realise how lucky our youth are - and they do not realise it.
To start with, the ruling party regards them as youths (read children) even if they are a ripe 29 years old, which Malema will become in March. Before Juju-babes, Fikile Mbalula doddered on to the ANC Youth League presidential pedestal until he was on the wrong side of 35 years.
When Malema, and Mbalula before him, stir the pot too vigorously, we ought to remember that they are "children" only in the fertile minds of their organisation.
I had a chat with a young relative who expressed opinions about white people that could be deemed hate speech if printed. I was taken aback and had to ask him: "What have they (whites) done to you?"
The answer was airy-fairy rattle-prattle. If anyone should be harbouring ill-feelings against whites, it should be my generation and those before it.
We experienced pass raids, detention without trial, Group Areas Act, Bantu education - the whole shebang. But if we are angry, we are not showing it.
On the contrary, our youth enjoy freedom of movement, expression, no passes, uniform education and the sometimes unfair protection of affirmative action. Still, their end-of-year matric results are more and more appalling.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, Bantu education seems to have produced men and women of greater substance than the "brilliant" fare fed today's generation, which breeds hundreds of thousands of unemployable people.
Put simply, Bantu education stank, but it was enforced thoroughly. That is why even when generation on generation was taught woodwork (I am not being sarcastic) and sewing, we could still collectively stand toe-to-toe with our paler compatriots who benefitted from A-grade education. Still surprised?
Spades were called spades then. We were not preoccupied with inventing vocabulary. Teachers were teachers and not "educators". Pupils were just that - or children, not learners.
Women did not call their boyfriends or husbands "baby". (Come to think of it, maybe I am bitter after all).
I expect some nutty dimwit to say I long for apartheid education.
Anyone who wants to misunderstand me deliberately is welcome to fool themselves.
Stupidity can be voluntary and we have the right to choose.