Nagging White Boy

One day when I used to stay in the Western Cape, on an overcrowded train from Cape Town to Bellville, I watched selfishly as the seats around me were taken up by a seemingly “poor” white woman with three young children, one of whom was only weeks old, the eldest a boy of around five. The boy was in a state of wild excitement that he succeeded in sustaining for the full hour journey. Before the train had even started moving, he was barking at his mother for information.

Boy – “Where are we going?”
Mum – “Bellville”
Boy – (noticing that the woman in the seat in front also had a very young child) “Mum, Mum! There’s a baby here. Do you think the baby would like to see our baby?”
Mum – The babies are sleeping.”
Boy – Are we still in Cape Town?”
Mum – “Yes”
Boy – “Where are we going?”
Mum – “Bellville”
Boy – “Can I have an apple?”
Mum – (almost throwing it) “Here.”
Boy – (so loudly that he woke both babies, who started crying) “Not that one!”
Mum – “Just eat it.”
Boy – “I like salt… What’s a vinegar Mum?”
Mum – “I use it in the kitchen.”
Boy – “Can you show me when we get home?”
Mum – “Yes.”
Boy – “How many seconds will that be?”
Mum – “Lots”
Boy – “100, 000?”
Mum – (running out of patience) “Yes”
Boy – “Where are we now?”
Mum – “Between Parow and Bellville”
Boy – “Are we in summer? Why is the sun out?”
Mum – “It’s summer”
Boy – “Why is it orange? Is is because of the fruit?”
Mum – (looking through the window) “Yes”
Boy – (reading the label on a packet of sweet) “Am I a young child?”
Mum – “Yes.”
Boy – (eyes wide open) “Then I could choke on one of these!”

I couldn’t help wishing he had.

By Khaya



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