It is childish to live your life through your kids

If our former health minister Nkosazana Zuma ever wanted an advert for her anti-smoking crusade, it happened in a shebeen in Small Farms, Evaton, way back in the 1980s.

If our former health minister Nkosazana Zuma ever wanted an advert for her anti-smoking crusade, it happened in a shebeen in Small Farms, Evaton, way back in the 1980s.

Our minister drove her campaign with the passion of a zealot and made many enemies down the line.

Back to Small Farms.

I never knew the fellow, but he entered the joint dragging a little boy aged about six or seven.

It was around Christmas, and many factory workers had got their bonuses, so the speakeasy was quite full.

What struck me first was that the young one was dressed too expensively for a little child. He wore a brown three-piece suit, a tie, hat and shoes with solid soles that obviously made him walk with difficulty.

I can never understand why some folk dress up their children like that: he looked like a mini-man.

If that was bad, worse was to come. The father bought a couple of beers, found a spot for him and the child to sit, and then asked for two glasses.

He filled the tumblers and passed one to the little boy, who gulped it greedily.

The grimace on his face showed he was not enjoying the bitter stuff - but he had to please his dad.

A patron or two gave father and son the thumbs up, but nobody complained. In Small Farms in those days, you minded your own business or your family would "eat samp and sing very slowly" - meaning they'd have your funeral.

Just when we thought we had seen the ultimate, the kleva took two cigarettes, lit them and gave one to the kid.

The child choked and gasped as he pulled on the damn thing, his eyes watering. At that time the beer was taking its toll, and he slumped over drunkenly.

"Die's my bra," the father said proudly as he yanked the boy on to his feet and dragged him outside.

When I left the dive, the boy was on the verge of passing out.

Sadly, there are parents who try to live their lives through their children.

Before I am pilloried, the people of Small Farms have produced some of the finest sons and daughters of this country, in spite of the abject deprivation of their area in the past.

But as they say, every basket will have its rotten apples, and when they rot there, they do it big time.

Ali Mphaki, he of the fairy tales, tells of a man who was called to school to see for himself that his son was drunk as a lord.

When he came to the school, the principal called the boy into his office so the father could see what he was talking about.

The teenager staggered drunkenly into the office, barely able to stand on his feet.

The father was disappointed: "Mfana, the problem is that you don't eat. Remember how nicely drunk you were last week because you had eaten?"

He turned to the bemused teacher: "Meneer, die laaitie wil nie eet nie ."

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