Belt-tightening stops yearly trips home

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

The Christmas week felt funny to die-hard Gautengers since the crowds in the cities did not diminish to the extent that they usually do.

Every year millions of people leave Gauteng for their ancestral kraals to pay their respects to the departed, see the old folks, plough the fields for the next harvest and to just chill the rural way. This leaves the townships, towns and cities mercifully em-pty.

As a result Johannesburg and the other cities shine because you can at least see the buildings that are often masked by the hordes of humanity who work in them for 11 months of the year.

This year the depressed economy has played havoc with the usual exodus to the Esigodini or Legae.

While the traffic jams have disappeared until the new year, the taxis are still full of people going to Johannesburg to shop.

I have heard that retailers are crying into their tea cups because of the poor profits this festive season. This surprises a lot of the commuters since the taxis are packed with people carrying new blankets, shoe bags and other unwieldy parcels.

Incidentally, you are expected to grin and bear it when these parcels poke you in the eye or other sensitive parts. It is called the African Way, that is, accommodating other people's problems.

To me it seems like ubuntu taken too far.

The people who should really be crying are those promoting the Sho't Left campaign since no one has gone "home".

They will not be able to show off their campaign successes about a natural annual migration, because no one is going home.

The other downside is that we will not get to hear of the hilarious goings on in the Esigodini.

We taxi regulars have heard tales about cattle theft by inept rustlers.

My favourite tale is about the drunken uncle who insulted the whole family during the Christmas dinner. He told off the Sandton Top Shayela who had secretly borrowed money from his elderly parents.

He confided in a loud voice that his brother-in-law was ugly but his sister had no choice since he was her last hope.

He also exposed the bed-wetters of his youth who were now lording it over him. The story goes on and on until the listener gets stomach cramps from laughing so hard.

I have also heard the story about the taxi driver who arrived at his parents' home to find a rural bride waiting for him.

He ran back to Gauteng and stayed away from home for many years. He went back home only after his neighbours told him his putative bride had gone off with someone else.

Needless to say, his Gauteng bride was horrified by the hardships of rural life. His parents were equally shocked by this modern bride who wore lipstick.