Once upon a time in a place called South Africa there lived a little 12 yr old boy named Kabelo. His mother was a disciple of Jesus but his father was not.
Kabelo loved to play around with everything. Many people said he had an adventurous spirit but his mum just says he needs to stop running around the place all the time.
Kabelo’s father I’m sure didn’t notice Kabelo’s rambunctious spirit. He wasn’t at home long enough to notice. Like poor and middle class South African men; Kabelo’s Dad loved to hang out at a pub with his friends to chat, smoke and drink palm wine whenever he was not at work.
The few hours in a week Kabelo’s Dad was at home, it was only to eat, bathe, sleep or sit in front of the TV while smoking something.
Kabelo’s Dad was always smoking something and Kabelo’s Mum was always complaining that he was being a bad influence on Kabelo.
“Woman! You worry too much,” Kabelo‘s Dad would say and then return to his smoking.
Kabelo’s Mum was a disciple of Jesus, she took her son to church with her every Sunday but her husband just wouldn’t go. He despised the idea of going to church on Sunday morning when he could be at home sleeping. When Kabelo’s Mum married him she taught he was a disciple of Jesus but he had only been going to church during their courtship period to please her and one week into their marriage she saw his true colours when he told her that all preachers are out to make money and anyone who believes them is a dummy who is too easily deceived. This broke the heart of Kabelo’s Mum, she had ended up like her own Mum; marrying a man who had no relationship with God. Kabelo’s Mum knew by witnessing the experiences of those around her that men who don’t have a relationship with God attract lots of problems which their nature multiples even more.
Kabelo’s Mum also prayed about her husband’s smoking habits, as well as all his other dirty habits. She prayed that he would become a disciple of Jesus but he wanted nothing to do with all of the Jesus this and Jesus that which was all nonsense to him.
Kabelo however admired his Dad. To him he was the perfect picture of what a man was supposed to be. A man was supposed to be overweight and never home. A man was supposed to sit in front of the TV and smoke something on the rare occasion that he was at home. A man was supposed to never take his eyes of the TV when his son asked him a question. That was what a man was. That is what Kabelo learnt a man should be based on the example his father set for him.
As Kabelo turned 13 he figured, ‘Why not growing into a man’s shoes now?’ Why not start doing a few manly things a little bit now? That way when his friends are becoming men at the age of 30 he would become a man at the age of 16. That would be time saving and put him ahead of his mates, he taught.
He decided his 1st step to becoming a man would be to smoke something. Kabelo’s school principal smoked something, as a matter of fact almost every man that Kabelo knew smoked something. The few that he knew didn’t smoke were either recluse or weird in every sense of the word.
Kabelo’s desire to smoke grew. He could use his week-long savings to buy a cigarette from any store in his neighbour but Kabelo knew that in South Africa, people don’t just know how to keep quiet, so most assuredly the news that he bought a packet of cigarettes would reach his Mum that same day. Besides he just gave an earth shaking solo in church last Sunday that left most folks in tears. If he dare buy a cigarette, the word on everybody’s lips would be, “Did you hear what that choir boy from last Sunday did?” That would make the word of his cigarette buying reach not only his mum but also his church pastor, and nobody in his situation would want that.
To Kabelo it was like he had to please two worlds: the church world and the real world.
In the church word; real men don’t smoke, real men love Jesus.
But in the real world; real men smoke. And all those ads that say the federal ministry of health warns that tobacco smokers are liable to die young, don’t know what they are talking about because to him all real men know that tobacco only cuts short the lives of weak men. After all everybody knows an old man or two who has been smoking since his youth yet is still alive. How then can the federal ministry of health be right about smokers dying young?
Kabelo’s plan to smoke but maintain his respect in the real world and in the church world was to smoke as often as possible in a way that no one linked to his church in anyway would ever know.
His plan was simple. He knew that the only thing that could draw his Dad away from the TV is his Mum screaming, “Food is ready!!!” It was a cry that brought everyone to the dinner table.
Kabelo observed that whenever his Mum screamed it, his Dad put the cigarette he was smoking into the ash tray even though it was only half finished and when his Dad came back after eating, he took a fresh cigarette from the cigarette pack, he never bothered to finish smoking the cigarette he put in the ash tray before he left.
Kabelo started stealing that partially smoked cigarette stick and it turned out whenever his Dad returned to the TV after eating, he never realised it was gone.
At first smoking didn’t feel good and he wondered why people make a fuzz about it any way but after weeks of daily smoking something Kabelo began to see what people enjoyed in smoking.
The ecstasy that filled his inside and soothed his brain anytime he inhaled a cigarette earned the nickname “Paradise” from him. That breathe you take in when you smoke. That was certainly paradise – a place out of this world – a place in the clouds somewhere. A ‘high’ place.
Kabelo had no idea how they knew but folks in school knew he smoked. Somehow total strangers (his fellow students) had figured out he does something that not even his Mum knows he does. They didn’t bug him about it or seem to want to use that knowledge to make any trouble for him.
They say birds of the same feather flock together but they don’t always tell you that birds tend to attract birds with feathers just like their own. And this was the case with Kabelo. He soon found himself close friends with school mates that smoked something. They told him where and from whom he can buy cigarettes without anybody knowing. They also let him on a secret place they can smoke at whenever they skip school.
Prior to meeting these guys, Kabelo had never skipped school. He really didn’t want to but the appeal of a place where he could smoke whole sticks of cigarettes without worrying about being caught was just too much to pass off.
Kabelo followed them to the secret place one Monday Morning. After smoking two sticks of cigarettes his friend told him he had something else that he should try. He told him that if he thinks cigarettes are really something he should wait until he tries what he is about to give him.
His friend handed Kabelo something wrapped in a paper shaped in form of a cigarette. Kabelo looked at it suspiciously. His friend teased him saying he didn’t ask him to examine it like a detective that he should smoke it.
Kabelo put it to his mouth and drew in. Wow! His friend wasn’t kiddin’, this is the most awesome thing ever.
Kabelo’s friend was pleased to see the joy on Kabelo’s face. Then to help his friend with a tip that would help him experience greater levels of highness, he said, “The more you inhale the better you feel.”
Kabelo wanted to feel that better high so he took in a long slow and delicious breath. The more he drew in, the more he could feel himself rising and rising – Rising as though he was ascending into the heavens.
Something had popped in his brain.
Kabelo was now insane. The drug had gotten to his brain in a way that had damaged something extremely delicate.
Kabelo’s friend and everybody else that was in the secret place ran. No one ever knew they had anything to do with it. Kabelo was found roaming the streets of South Africa scaring little kids, eating from dust bins, talking to himself and doing other things that mad people do.
His parents had no choice but to put him in an asylum where he would be for, the rest of his life.
Various theories where formed around the neighbourhood and among all those who knew Kabelo as to what happened. Some said it was the doings of some South Africa witch doctor, some said it must be drugs, some said it must be from an illness Kabelo had that the family tried to keep secret, some even said insanity must run in the Kabelo family but because his Mum and Dad never showed signs of it no one knew it was there.
However, Kabelo’s Mum and the Doctor that examined Kabelo knew it was because he smoked something. He smoked something that has now stolen his future.
If Kabelo’s Mum could turn back the hands of time, she would 1st of all have been more careful in choosing a husband and would have chosen one who she is a 100% sure is a true believer in Jesus. Not a man who pretends to be something he’s not during the courtship period.
Secondly, she would have taken her husband’s being a bad influence on her son more seriously. Knowing that the threat of danger is just as bad as danger itself. She should have done more than just always telling her husband he’s been a bad influence and praying that he’ill change.
Lastly, she should have maintained a closer relationship with her son. Her sex may not qualify her to teach Kabelo how to be a man, but it’s very clear that it would have been better for Kabelo if he sought to be more like his Mum than like his Dad.