Forgiving is the magic of Christmas

Christmas is not called the silly season for nothing.

Christmas is not called the silly season for nothing.

When I grew up, men would dress up in dresses and wigs, apply thick layers of "red-lips" (lipstick) and traipse around in high-heeled ladies' shoes - all in the name of "eating Christmas".

In my neighbourhood, all the kids believed that the sun did a jive on Christmas morning.

So we would wake up quite early and stare at the yellow ball for hours on end until our little eyes watered.

At times I would think I had really seen it sway, especially when the brazen liars among us swore it was jumping around.

All that is gone, but the silly madness is still here, only in different form.

It ranges from the black folks who demand "Krismas box" from complete strangers - mostly whites. The poor whites, fearing they could be labelled racists if they refused, fork out.

And then Christmas is also about spreading goodwill and forgiving.

We are a forgiving lot, we blacks.

An uncle of mine, one Dan Motsuenyane, reminded me the other day of a white traffic cop who stopped us in Pretoria years back when I had just got my driving licence. He sauntered to the driver's side and "greeted" me: "Ja, jou snortbek!"

In my mind, I responded with unprintable prose, but my mouth just grinned sheepishly - for two reasons: He could beat the hell out of me and I could do nothing about it.

Secondly, I did not want him to give the jalopy I was driving a thorough test, or he could scrap its licence.

The car was in such bad shape I think the head lights flashed when you applied the brakes, the hooter went off when you indicated and the wipers went on when you changed gears.

Something like that.

Around the same time, in the same area north of Pretoria, I recall battling to get the heap moving uphill while it belched thick plumes of smoke.

When I had brought the traffic behind me to an almost standstill, a young white chap in the car behind me hanged out of his window and screamed: "Los die briek, kaffir!"

For years I harboured hatred and dreamed of revenge against these two fellows - even if I don't know them - and other racists I have encountered. I thought of a million unspeakably cruel things I could do to them if they tried any of that on me today.

Strange, though, that when Oom Dan reminded me of the incidents, I burst out laughing.

I think I have totally forgiven them.

That's the magic of Christmas.