Rot in the mouths of babes begins at home

I NEARLY strangled a child this week - the first week of 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse.

I NEARLY strangled a child this week - the first week of 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse.

Before the do-gooders of this world crucify me, let me declare my heartfelt love for children and my unequalled sympathy for those who are abused.

Child abuse comes in many forms. It ranges from outright violence (which could be assault or rape), to abandonment, emotional battery and starvation.

Drive around our towns each night and see the shame of our generations: starved, semi-naked children sleeping on cardboard boxes on our pavements. Yet we claim we are a caring people, a caring nation.

All it would take to "care" is for someone in authority to order that every child loitering in the streets, begging, sleeping in a park or on a pavement, must be picked up by the first law enforcement official who sees the child, and taken to a place of safety.

There they should be given access to reading material, toys, entertainment, have their health needss taken care of, clothed and fed properly. That way any parent who hits town looking for a lost child would know where to look.

Julius Malema and his fellow travellers could find work for their idle hands and minds spearheading such projects, rather than spending their lives partying and hurling insults - and playing president-in-waiting. Children must be loved, even if they turn out like the one I almost put down this week.

I was dozing off, half-asleep, smiling to myself while my barber cut my hair in preparation for a very special family occasion this week.

Also in the shack-cum-salon was a young woman who had a child just out of infancy - a cherubic little lass with puffy cheeks and ribbons in her hair. She toddled over and stuck out her little hand for me to give her a banana I had in my hand.

I did. Mother apparently did not like it. She threw me a hateful stare, as if I was a paedophile trying to poison her child.

I was still figuring out how to react when baby toddled back to mommy and handed over the banana, presumably for her to peel it.

The mother angrily grabbed the fruit from the child and looked away. I guess she was waiting for me to go so she could throw it away.

At that stage baby, angry at ma, let out a shriek: "O tla ny***!" (You will s***).

That, coming from an angelic little mouth, had the effect of an icy shower in mid-winter.

The barber, apparently an associate of the mother, described it aptly: "She (baby) is rusted in the mouth."

Even more scary was ma's retort to the little one: "Le wena o tla ny***," (You too will s***).

Then I understood why God, in His eternal wisdom, gave her such a child.

This is child-loving season and we should love them - and even if they are rusted in the mouth.