I'll keep tickling young ones, no matter what naysayers say

13 February 2019 - 10:04
By vusi nzapheza AND Vusi Nzapheza
A little girl and her dad tickle her baby brother, a loving  act that some would deem a violation of his space, the writer  claims.
Image: 123RF A little girl and her dad tickle her baby brother, a loving act that some would deem a violation of his space, the writer claims.

To be tickled is one of life's pleasures. It elicits involuntary giggles and releases endorphins, those chemicals that trigger a positive feeling in the body.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of my grandfather tickling me and my sister in the tummy after we had supper. After finishing our food, our stomachs would theoretically be engorged to resemble a watermelon and he would "cut" the melons with his finger. And we would laugh and laugh. Of course, it was an adult ruse to get us to finish our dishes and it worked like a charm.

I discovered my other pleasure points when I grew up, such as a lover's swivel of a feather in my ear. Oh, that feeling is indescribable. The most common tickle is, of course, a gentle prod on the ribs or a gentle rub on the soles of my feet.

As an uncle, I never pass up the opportunity to crack the knuckles of my nephews' toes. They pretend to be scared but keep coming back for more. The sound of that crack is a reward to the uncle and joy to my nephews.

"Mavusana, do it again hle," they'd beg, unaware that a crack can't be repeated.

Imagine my shock and horror, then, when I read that some fuddy duddy deemed that innocent act as a violation against children's rights. Russel Brand, a comedian and actor you may never have heard of, stoked controversy recently when he claimed tickling children should be made illegal because it "violates their space".

Brand vowed he would "punch" anyone who tries to tickle his young daughters because the act "violates their bodily autonomy".

It is amazing the kind of excuses some people will come up with to complicate the journey of life.

I've seen mothers tickling their bundles of joy to elicit a burp. Their toothless smiles after that are priceless.

I've seen dogs with their tongues out and twisting on their backs in sheer bliss when the owner ribbed their sides.

I was thinking to myself Brand must have had an unhappy childhood when I came across another jaw-dropper.

Raphael Samuel from Mumbai, India, is suing his parents for giving birth to him without his consent.

The angry Indian says although he loves his parents, they had him for their joy and pleasure.

He is a follower of the anti-natalist philosophy that encourages people worldwide to stop procreating.

He says it is wrong to put a child through life for the pleasure of its parents.

"Your parents had you instead of a toy or a dog. You owe them nothing. You're their entertainment," railed Samuel.

Contrast that with EFF leader Julius Malema's inane statement for black people to drink mpesu and make as many babies as they can to outnumber white people.

While children are deemed a blessing and God's will, it is downright irresponsible to drop babies like a hen laying eggs but, of course, father of two Malema wouldn't know the hassle of raising a football team on Sassa grants.

As for me, I'll keep tickling my offspring and leave them with fond memories to pass on to the next Nzapheza generation.