The Kasi Dream
By Kamogelo More, 22, Gauteng
People have always been singing endless praises about Cape Town. The first time I went there was on a school trip. We drove around and there was this weirdness about it. How can one group of people live in so much luxury, while others are fighting for mere survival? I am a girl from the township, and I have always known that there was a better life outside of what I had known.
I had seen better with my own eyes, however, that was the first time I had a look from an outsider’s perspective, bear in mind that I was only an outsider for that duration when I was a visitor. I wasn’t a Khayelitsha resident, nor was I a resident of Claremont, I was just merely a tourist. Since then, like many of my friends, I would have been more determined to do everything in my willpower to get out and get a better life for myself.
It’s typical of me to have made a plan, I make plans for everything, as I write this I already know which hairstyles I will have on my head for 2021, yes, don’t judge me. The American dream goes as follows, finish college and become a star in Hollywood. The township dream sounds a bit like, “finish uni, move out, buy mom a house, buy a car, pay for siblings school fees at a Model C school that I never had the opportunity of going to, oh and if you are a male and you decide to get married, do spare a R50 000 budget for lobola”. For a long time, I held on to, let us call it the ‘Kasi Dream’, however, houses aren’t cheap and for the sake of my sanity I have had to look at my expectations for myself. When it dawned on me that I might not be able to move out of the house by age 25, because of debt and the rest of the odds that may be against me, I started to think about whether or not I did the wrong qualification.
I asked myself, should I have just done nursing? Perhaps I would have a guaranteed job, but wait, I don’t have an interest in it. I went back and forth with myself, researched ways of investing and this is positive because financial literacy is essential to financial health. I was looking more aggressively for jobs and just pushing myself harder, perhaps I could started saving for my bond, right? In Disneyland maybe, but not where I’m at.
I write this from the context of a young black ambitious person from the township and I am very aware that this is not just the experience of someone who is black and this isn’t the experience of everyone from the township, I am just merely reflecting on my journey. The unemployment rate is at its highest and I’m realising how important it is to grow the township as we grow instead of just abandoning it. Why do we do this? Why do we abandon these places that raised us without even looking back? Do we really have to leave the township? Is this mentality the one that is leading so many young people to depression? How about we improve on what we already have or maybe change our perspective? The issue of hopeless youth will not be dissolved by just job creation, we need to start looking at this from many perspectives.
I for one hated the township, I hated seeing hopeless youth or people digging their heads into heaps of garbage like animals just to make a living, or the one family that gets their shack burnt to ashes with every little thing they own every winter – I hate those sights. I know we are not going to get out now, but since we are here can we at least try to make it work? This is what I told myself, it may not happen today or tomorrow but can I at least be comforted by my efforts? Can I be motivated by the never-dying spirit of the humans who inhabit these spaces?
I definitely am and today I wake up grateful, I may not have it all, but for what I have, I am thankful.
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