Variety is indeed the spice of life

Bakang Tshite

Bakang Tshite

Imagine you wake up one morning and realise your complexion has changed to that of your sister's, your hair is the same and your height too.

Imagine you go to a store and realise that everyone is wearing the same clothes as you, everyone has the same hairstyle, and everyone is going in the same direction. You are amazed to realise that these people are heading for the product you are heading for.

Fortunately, you get the product, but sadly, there is only one flavour. Looking around the store in amazement you realise there is only one flavour of everything - only brown bread, only salt and vinegar chips and only mango and orange juice.

How bad would it be if we had the same thoughts, thinking alike all the time! That means when one does wrong, we all flow in the wrong direction or when one chooses to become a doctor, we would all become doctors. And what would be the use of becoming doctors, when there is no one to cure? This makes one think of the whole issue of making babies who are born all over the world at just one go.

Let me draw you to our olden days. Think of our greatest hero, Mr Nelson Mandela. Do you think he would be such an inspiration to us if we were all like him? I mean, all of us would have been able to save ourselves from apartheid! No, wait a minute, I don't think apartheid would have existed then. I mean, look, we would be the same colour, speak the same language and come from the same race.

So there would be no use for us to criticise each other or discriminate against each other. That means, no history of South Africa, and no Rainbow Nation. Maybe, just maybe, instead of rainbow we would be called the pink or blue or even yellow nation.

In the world of sameness, dictionaries would have no words like "difference", "various" or "unique". They would be unnecessary and "identical" would be all the rage!

So much for the world of imagi- nation. Let's get back to reality and our world where variety is the spice of life.

At times, we wish that some things would just go away and leave us alone, but have you ever thought what life would be without them? Like the science teacher who is on your case about the closet doors you always leave open or even your Ms Goody Goody sister who corrects your small mistakes. Unaware, those people teach us punctuality, responsibility and accountability.

Would you enjoy seeing roads full of the same cars every day?

Give me the richness of difference every day, big or small, economical or expensive, every colour of the rainbow, BMW, Toyota, Mazda, Mercedes - there is a place for all kinds in my ideal world.

We all belong to groups of one kind or another. Schools, churches, workplaces all thrive on variety.

How would the classroom be if Neo did not crack jokes behind the teacher's back, or if Thabo's dog did not eat his homework every day or if Lebo wasn't always in trouble with the principal? Our differences, our very uniqueness and our qualities are necessary to our enjoyment of life.

As we sit here today, we are conscious of our differences. Some of us are wearing the same uniform, but different sizes, some are short, some are tall, some are learners and some are educators.

In my opinion, this is what makes the world go round. We each have a role in life and every role is important. The important thing is to see that everyone is treated with the respect they deserve.

The doctor, the lawyer, the cleaner and the cook all have important places in life and require our appreciation and thanks.

No, no thanks. I might be short and l may not be daddy's favourite, but I don't want to be my sister. I want to be me - with my strengths and weaknesses, my dreams and my fears.

All I ask of the world is, accept who I am and understand that "variety is indeed the spice of life".

l The author, Bakang Tshite, is a matric pupil at St Anne's High School and represented North West in the 2008 finals of the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards held in Johannesburg in June.