Rude Coloured Teens

It was one of those Cape Town’s unbearably hot summer days, thanks to the Khayelitsha vandals’ courtesy, all the windows were bolted so no one could open them. As we sat there, steaming, the atmosphere of discomfort was interrupted by the most unwelcome of outbursts, a swearing from a gang of unruly coloured teens on the seats behind me.

Teen 1 – (sounding angry) “Get the fuck off me. I’m not saying it again. Don’t fucken’ push me too far.”

Like everyone else, I pretended to keep on reading the newspaper, while wondering what direction this would go and how best to stay as uninvolved as possible.

Teen 2 – “Calm yourself down.”

Teen 1 – (slightly calm) “Then stop taking photos of me!”

It was then that a third voice emerged and addressed itself to the image-conscience teen.

Teen 3 – “Why don’t you stop swearing on the train and respect the public?”

Teen 1 – (annoyed) “What public?”

Teen 3 – (patiently) This is a public train.”

Teen 1 – (pausing to read the train logo above me then announcing loudly) It says Metrorail Train.

Teen 3 – (loud enough to get everyone’s attention, though they had it anyway) Everyone come up here and give this boy a klap!”

I took a risk at this point and looked around. Teen 3 was tall and thin, Teen 1 was toothless and fuming and Teen 2 was about to take another picture with his phone.

Teen 1 – “Leave me alone!”

Teen 3 – “You should respect the public like they’re respecting you.”

We’re not respecting him, I wanted to say. We’re scared, I thought. But it didn’t seem like an appropriate moment for me to get involved. So I got back to the paper and waited for the train to come to its next stop so I could move to another carriage.

By Khaya


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