When I was 13 the family lived in Munster. We are all still together, no one was placed in foster care, and no child protection services came to take us away. There was no need, through richer and mostly poorer, mom kept all five of us together. We were really poor a lot of times but somehow somewhere one of us got some money and could buy food. I remember my friend came over one day and we had no food for lunch, he went to the neighbors house, walked into their front door and came out with a block of ham hehe we were hungry and just went with it. Luckily our friends understood and they also helped with the pocket money they got from their parents.. At this stage in life I rebelled against everything. I started smoking and drinking, not heavily but it was the beginning. I remember dad being in the house for a very short while and then he was gone out of our lives. I think it might have been at this stage when he went to jail or he was out, I’ll have to check but he was there briefly and then gone. The 3 brothers became lifeguards and we spend a lot of time at the beach surfing, partying just being young and stupid.
We slipped school a lot to go surfing, When the south west is blowing a mate of ours would pitch up in his mom’s car at the bus stop and just say ‘southwest is blowing boys, waves are cooking’ we’d ditch the bus and go surfing. Broeks the oldest of the kids always told me ‘mannie you have to go to school’ I’ll say there is no chance of that happening, I’m coming with. They always tried to ditch me but I was like a shadow. I’m coming with you so deal with it. They’d sigh and say okay. They always seem to do cool stuff and who must I hang out with?, no I’m going coming with. Mom was seeing a guy at some stage and one day he bought her R80 worth of biltong/beef jerky and a bottle of old brown sherrie, my friend and I came home and saw all of this.
We stole the sherie and the biltong and hitch hiked back to his place 50km away, getting a ride in some van we drank the bottle and ate the biltong and had a jolly good time. This boyfriend found out and got furious, ha, mom said how can you expect to leave food like that in an empty fridge with hungry children around and say its for me only. He kept all the receipts for everything they bought and ate together and when he asked her to marry him she said no, he then divided all the money spent in half and says she must pay her half. My mom just laughed and that was the end of him. We then moved to another part of munster and got broken into a few times. I skipped school alone sometimes to go surfing and one day I went shark fishing on a boat, that was cool.
Life was ok, I was in high school now and extremely difficult to control. I got into fights at school and seeking attention with the girls in class was all I cared about. I was naughty and disrespectful, defiant and challenging. Outside of school I’ll get drunk and either cry or seek attention by my older brothers. I messed up a lot of good times for them because I got wasted and they had to drag me home or I’ll embarrass them and myself in some way or another. I cried a lot and did stupid things for attention. I was 14 years old, broken and hurt.
Then one day I came home and mom introduced me to a guy she met, I thought okay and just left it. Two weeks later the same guy and my mom were sitting in our lounge and announced that they got married. Hmm Okay. I went back into the room and prompt by my brothers I went back out and unleashed the fury. What I said to them I can’t remember but I screamed, shouted and cried and a lot of pent up anger came out. But what can you do, you adjust your sails and go with it, besides he seemed to have money and maybe it won’t be so bad. Some time later we moved into his place in port edward with his 3 kids and there we stayed until I was 18. During the years at my step dad’s house a lot had happened. I rebelled more and more. I actually failed grade 9 (15 years old) but the school gave my mom an ultimatum. If you take your son out of the school we will let him pass and continue on to grade 10 in another school or if you keep him in our school he will fail grade 9 and even then we might not take him back, he’s a menace. So my mom send me to an agricultural college 350km away. Where they got the money I don’t know but in 2001 I went to an all boys boarding school.
I hated that place. I was alone and had to fend for myself. I was scared all the time. Depression was in full swing but not obvious to me, I was messed up inside. I had no one now. I did make friends but I could never shake the constant fear.
Deep inside I was utterly afraid of everything. I could not handle how mean some of the kids were to each other. I was never bullied and I made a name for myself early. Blood sport was the norm in a boys school and the matrix would let two guys fight each other wearing cricket gloves. So unaccustomed to their ways I got told to glove up and they chose my opponent, a popular guy in our grade, we squared off and the fight began. I didn’t know that it was a full on fight, I still smiled and bounced around until this guy came at me in full force and I got pushed back into an urn. I then realized, okay, this is serious. I am not proud of it but I knocked him down twice in rapid succession and he was bleeding.
They stopped the fight and since then the boys knew that if they want to tangle with me there’s a good chance they are going to get buckled. I got along with everyone, some boys did not like me and was all about tradition, and sometimes I felt heavy tension from them. The matrix ruled over everyone and I did not want to live in fear again. They caned you and ordered us around, you can’t sleep in peace, always a higher grade pupil up in your face about something. I just want to be left alone so I can sleep an slip into my dream world where I can escape reality. My whole life I lived in fear and now again.
I was a good all round sportsman and showed leadership potential. I calmed down a lot by age 17 and had learned some discipline. In grade 11 at the end of year prize giving I got chosen as a prefect for matrix year 2003. That was a highlight of my school career and I’m very proud of myself. I went to a friends house that weekend and got drunk. Some boys in our grade were very sour that I got chosen as a prefect. So 2003 came and now that I was a prefect I got a big head and neglected some of my close friends, they quickly voiced it and I changed my attitude. Then the phone call came, my stepdad had molested one of my sisters. No not again. I was dealing with so much at school and now this. There was no reaction from me, believe it or not I actually smiled. I think it was too much to bare. That night I laid in my bed and try to cry, there was absolutely no tears, I thought about everything sad in my whole life, still no tears, I forced myself to cry for them, but all I managed was a few tears and that was it. Life at school went on and I added that incident onto my list of suppressed emotions. Some time later I got taken out of the school because we couldn’t pay school fees or something, I said goodbye to friends and left, I could feel how happy some boys were that I’m leaving because now I new prefect had to be chosen. That hurt a little. Something happened and I returned sometime later. Luckily I was still a prefect. A lot of things went down in that college but the day I finished my last day of school, ever, was probably one of the best days of my life. No more traditions, no more being afraid, no more school, I hated school and now I was free. Turns out I wasn’t.
I wrote this article very quickly and it is not written very well either. My teenage years sucked and I never want to think about it again. I never want to think about that school ever again. I never want to see anyone of that school ever again either because I am ashamed, I’m 33 and have absolutely nothing to show for it, being a prefect does not matter anymore, I drift through life with no responsibility and when I look on facebook and see how successful all of them are I just feel useless all over again. I was so messed up and twisted back then, some of those kids were my friends and whether they know it or not, they helped me through a time of serious mental issues and heartache. But still I can not face any of them today. Yes you could say that I have not made peace with my teenage years but I’m working on it. My step father died few years later of liver cancer I think. Those poor kids of his has no parents left. Needless to say, he was not a good man. His kids did not know the behind the scenes story of his true character, my mom does and he threatened to kill her and himself more than once. Still, no one deserves to lose both parents so early.