‘Where’s the DSTV, Mom?’
Taking today’s kids to visit family back home means separating them from their comfort zone.
To some of us, the holiday trip home means visiting the rural areas. I have noticed that some kids do not enjoy this as much as the parents do. The children struggle to adapt to the environment.

In urban areas life is more modern but back home life can still be backwards. A simple example, in my mom’s area there is still no electricity, so you can imagine the frustration my son goes through when we have to visit the place. Of course there is no DSTV, yes, sadly for him, no
Cartoon Network.

Speaking to a few of my friends who mostly come from the rural areas they mentioned how the kids only enjoy the first few days and afterwards boredom kicks in. ‘Mama, please buy Gogo DSTV so that I can also watch Cartoon Network,’ said one friend’s child.

My friend’s son saw Xhosa initiates (abakhwetha) and ran inside the house because he was scared of the men who had ‘white paint’ all over them, and they looked scary. For a rural child that is pretty normal because they see the initiates often.

Parents may be partly to blame for the children not understanding or having a clear view of what their background entails.

Where’s the shower?

Some kids do not understand that there is no bathroom with showers or big baths and they have to use a basin to bath. There are no street lights and it is dark outside and if they need to poo they are going to use an outside toilet.

There are many other kids in the house  who have come to visit for holidays so there is no ‘MY’ but ‘OUR’, which is a struggle for those with only child syndrome because they tend to get used to having everything to themselves.

If kids attend multiracial schools they may speak English most of the time. Sometimes they do not understand certain African language words and as the mother you would have to translate. This one gets to most people and you’d find others staring at you as if you are the one who said the child must speak English. Even if you answer back in your language the child will respond in English.

These are the two worlds that as parents we find ourselves caught in and the children need to understand. Some children love it back home and look forward to going to the rural areas. Of course this type of setting does not apply to all houses in the rural areas, but these are some of the situations one can encounter.

To me this is a time to teach the child to appreciate what he has. Certain luxuries will fall away when we go back home and he just needs to accept that.

Read more by Masanda Peter

How well do your kids adapt to being away from their usual lives?

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