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

  • Tshukudu Modingoane
    21st Feb 2017

    Wise words of wisdom, I can also relate to your story, you are on the right track my guy, but the “all star” part is really funny and cold coming from a guy who’s from the hood. Keep writing and we shall read.

  • thabo ramara
    10th Aug 2017

    When I read this post, I remember the wonderful times I had growing up in the Alex. Our circumstances and engagements have shaped most of us to withstand the challenges we face in society as we have need shaped by struggle, diversity and hope for a better tomorrow. We never fell short of finding inspiration as we had Sandton as the backdrop of our neighbourhood, staring at it with hope and a deep desire for success. Although we may have been limited in resources , we made the streets our own.

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