Growing Up In Alex…

Growing up in Alex was interesting for me but I can imagine the fear my parents had for me. My father was an involved dad and I mean involved in every way possible. He never bought me All Stars because it was the kind of footwear thugs wore. Later in life I bought myself a pair after my first job and I found them overrated and cold — gave them to my little brother.

                                                I can tell you that good people come from Alex.

Alex – This is where I am from and for the longest time I never fitted in because I didn’t look like the place where I was from. I found it hard to find a place in society because I looked rich while I was poor (understood that poor is relative as well). While growing up I was ashamed of where I was from not that it was a bad place but because of the disappointment of my friends when they eventually found out. I wouldn’t date girls from the burbs because at some point you have to invite her to your place (I know @khayadlanga would relate to this). This is the reason why when you first meet me you will know where I am from first before you know my surname. I can’t change where I from but I can change the perception of the place that I come from, I can tell you that good people come from Alex.

My father had a hair salon; yes I was one of those kids who had a fresh s-curl done for free on the first day at school. My father realized that the area we lived will/has bad influence in me. He found a computer school just outside of Alex for me to go to every weekend, this was around 1997. I thank him for that, because he is the reason why I am obsessed with the Internet and computers today. I became Head Boy at Summerwood Primary School then later went to Highlands North Boys School. After attending Highlands for two years I remember my mother sitting me down and asking me to move to a cheaper school Northview High School because she was pregnant with my little sister.

I understood the situation at home and at last I was going to a school that will also have girls, so I was happy. Another reason was that my dad’s business was not doing well and he started being sick, like for a long time. I was becoming a young man so this was a period when I was bit of a rebel. Around 2001 — I remember that day like it was yesterday, I just got appointed prefect at Northview High school and I remember that we were not on good terms with my father at the time, I was an angry man. (Like an angry teenager would be). I received the news that my father has passed on — my dreams died that day. He was my only hope for going to school at the time because I knew that my mother couldn’t afford it.

But, every valentines day is a reminder of what happened in 2003 — when I got the call from YFM telling me that I was going to school, that I got the Dj Fresh Scholarship to further my studies because my mother who works at Pick n Pay couldn’t afford a R25k tuition to do Graphic Design.

Writer: George Gladwin Matsheke