Friendship broken after taking Tupperware and never returning it

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Tupperware food storage containers have been highly treasured items in black families for more than three decades. / 123rf
Tupperware food storage containers have been highly treasured items in black families for more than three decades. / 123rf

If you Google what Tupperware is, and you understand and agree with the understated description by the manufacturer, then you are probably not black like me, and most definitely not a hardcore kasi breed.

In fact, Tupperware should ask our mothers and their mothers what Tupperware is because clearly, the true nature of its masterpieces did not reach its brand marketing specialists.

I have never seen a more treasured purchase. The products have hardly changed in the past three decades, save for the introduction of more playful colours and a few pieces thrown in to catch up with technological advances of the microwave oven.

Yet, growing up, our households were naked if not adorned by at least a set of lunchboxes bearing the brand. There was also the awkwardness of not actually being able to enjoy the products on a daily basis. They were a rare use, and mostly reserved for visitors.

If one thing was certain, it is that our mothers guarded their Tupperware collection with all their might. Tupperware was the pillar of home comforts, a status symbol and the secret ingredient to serving good food.

And many a friendship and family bonds were broken by it. Take my aunt and her friend for instance. They were both professionals with beautiful households complemented by a dedicated pantry full of "products that include preparation, storage, and serving products for the kitchen and home" by Tupperware.

This is back in the days when the lids were navy or maroon, and ladies actually attended Tupperware parties and competed on who bought more than their peers.

The party would be catered with home-baked scones contained in the same brand and juice served in plastic drinking cups. My aunt and her friend were regulars at these dos, and always bragged about their free gifts from the Tupperware sales lady.

Only, if you were to ask her today what happened to her friend, she woefully responds with "That one took my Tupperware and never returned it..." Yes, that is the most prominent memory my aunt has of her friend. The "stolen" Tupperware is just about the worst of betrayals from a friend.

It felt like the friend had stolen a piece of her home décor, that one ornament that brought balance.

It is the same generation that obsessed with Tupperware that also religiously collected and safely stored empty ice cream containers.

This was for their peace of mind and for the preservation of their beloved Tupperware pieces.

When patrons had enjoyed the food and wanted to pack some to take to their homes, our mothers whipped out a two litre ice cream container and whispered that we should keep an eye on all the Tupperware containers.

This is how the distinction for food in these containers grew.

You would have no doubt that when something is dished into a Tupperware container, it is fresh and delicious.

Chances are, there is a special occasion and the catering is meant to impress. Then of course if you are directed to the ice cream container, you know for sure that you will be met with leftovers, probably bundled together and you can't tell if it is beef or chicken.

See, with my people, stealing such treasures - a lifetime guaranteed plastic container - is a cardinal sin. If the Ten Commandments were to be edited by our mothers, the 11th would read "Do not keep thy neighbour's Tupperware in your home!"

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