A few days ago my son asked me, “Mom why are there so many people on the beach and so much litter?”.
I explained to him that at the end of the year most working people get paid extra money AND they get to take leave when it is school holidays.
I shared with him, that “for some people it is very expensive to come to the beach. Most families may have to take two taxies and a train. Some travel for up to two/three hours (both ways) if they come to the beach on a public holiday, like when Uncle Brandon travels back to Parow on a Sunday.”
I explained to him that a trip like this could easily cost a family of four R240 just to get to the beach and back and this is excluding their food. “Yoh mom that is A LOT of money for one day at the beach! It’s just a pity that there isn’t enough bins or bags to put litter in hey?”
This our discussion as we walked to the beach at 6:30pm to help clean the beach.
This short chat with my son reminded me of MY childhood. I grew up in Ocean View, a 30 minute walk to Kommetjie beach and a 10 minute taxi ride to Fish Hoek beach. On Boxing Day, if the South Easter didn’t howl too much, we would WALK to Kommetjie beach. My dad carrying our coolerbox while my mom carried some sweets and chips in a plastic packet.
We were VERY lucky if my parents had money for us to take a taxi to Fish Hoek. The water was a lot warmer and there was (still is) a park. My brother and I loved the water, and it was always a struggle to get us ready for the trek back home.
These are blissful childhood memories, and I am also reminded how some Festive Seasons weren’t as blissful. There were times when we didn’t have money for a day picnic at the beach on Boxing Day.
Today I am fortunate to live so near the beach. Not because I’m rich or privileged, but due to circumstances that required drastic change.
While the country raged on about Penny Sparrow on Twitter, my son and I were watching Transporter 2 where the guy asks the boy riddles. “Sometimes it’s dark, sometimes it’s light and sometimes it’s both. What is it?”
My son excitedly exclaimed, “I know, I know. It is a HUMAN!”
I am so grateful that my son can see people for what they are, just that, PEOPLE.
Dear Penny Sparrow,
If we are “monkeys”, as you so eloquently put in you public Facebook post, then I am sure you will understand that THIS “monkey” can’t read OR understand English. And therefore YOUR apology is DISMISSED and NOT ACCEPTED.