Growing Up In South Africa
I remember when we used to go and play in the park on weekends and holidays. There was a huge willow tree right in front of our house. My dad used to make swings for us out of the vines. This was a very long time before iPhones and PlayStation. I was very much an outdoors kid growing up even after I had discovered Nintendo. I was about 8 or so when we moved to Port Shepstone. Port Shepstone is a town situated on the mouth of the Mzimkhulu River, the largest river on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast of South Africa. The Mzimkulu River means ‘large place’ in isiXhosa and isiZulu. It is located halfway between Hibberdene and Margate and is located 120 km south of Durban. We lived in a huge house not far from the beach. We had a big front yard and an even bigger back yard. But, we had to be so careful in the summer because there were loads of snakes about. We found a green mamba in our back yard once. I loved this place. I made a best friend in school, despite me having an anxiety disorder. We were very close and we were always together. At the age of ten my dad got a better job so we moved to a town called Amanzimtoti. A lovely holiday destination South of Durban. We moved into a cute little three bedroom house with a granny flat, back yard, front yard, fantastic neighborhood.
There was a lot of bush and greenery, which was great for us kids. During the school holidays we would keep ourselves busy by exploring and hiking or as us Saffa’s like to call it, bundu bashing. We would pack lunches and water into backpacks and head out for the day. My parents knew we were safe if we were together. It was so much fun to do. At the end of the day we would get home starving and exhausted. I walked to school and back, infact, I walked everywhere. I started skateboarding and surfing later on at about the age of 13. Life was so good!
We would braai (bbq) on weekends. The weather was always warm, even the winters were nothing to write home about. My parents had loads of work friends they would invite over for braais. It was so much fun because we would swim and enjoy our time outside as much as we could. I don’t think I can remember any day that was sunny where we didn’t have a braai. My dad also built a bar in the house which was lovely for the adults. We did have rainy seasons and the odd few really cold days but overall it was usually quite summery and hot. My dad bought a beach buggy and we would go to the beach almost every weekend and ride up and down the sand dunes. The adults would sometimes do a bit of fishing on the side. In those days we were allowed to have beach bonfires and it was still quite safe. So, sometimes we would go in the late afternoon after a braai and start a bonfire on the beach and braai marshmallows. I guess it kinda feels like camping. Gosh do I miss all of that!