My memories of childhood are often focused on the time we spent living in a little town called Secunda, which is set amidst the coalfields of what was the Eastern Transvaal, which is now the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. We lived at number 12 Pannevis Street and I went to Highveld Ridge School. The years we spent there are probably some of my happiest memories of childhood and being a family together. Back then my brother and sister were my very best of friends and my father was home more than he was away and my mother was the centre of my world.
My father worked at the Sasol refinery (which is where most men in the town worked) and I remember at night it would glisten on the horizon all ablaze in light, it looked so magical.
Men drove bakkies (a van), we wore takkies (not trainers) and had a braai (BBQ) at the weekend.
We had a huge garden (well to a child it seemed huge) and playing outdoors was the norm. The Baker family lived close by, a Scottish family with four girls; I think my brother and I were both in love with the eldest Lisa (she and I became pen pals after we both moved away).
There was no cinema in the town back then but there was a Drive In which we used to go to occasionally. It would get cold in the evenings so us three kids would all huddle on the back seat under blankets and more often than not fall asleep before the movie ended.
There were some fields close to our house that we used to play in for hours with other kids and our dog Simba would love to role in the mud and dung of wild animals coming home pleased as punch and stinking up the whole house.
Life seemed simpler then and my adulthood so far away, now it’s my childhood that seems so far away and although life is a little less simple it is far richer for having had the experiences I did back then, and for that I thank my parents.
This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more: www.makeapact.org