PARA­BLE OF THE LIT­TLE THIEF

Financial Mail - - BETWEEN THE CHAINS - @Sikonathim mantshantshas@fm.co.za

There once lived a lit­tle boy in a dusty and poor cor­ner of the coun­try. Like many in the vil­lage, his fa­ther had dis­ap­peared. His fam­ily was also not very well off. So the lit­tle boy was left to fend for him­self. And the whole coun­try was at war with it­self. Soon he made friends with some adults whose or­gan­i­sa­tion used to get into trou­ble with the bad au­thor­i­ties. Be­cause of his dys­func­tional fam­ily, and the strife in the coun­try, the lit­tle boy’s school­ing suf­fered.

While their own chil­dren were at school, the adults of the or­gan­i­sa­tion would send the lit­tle boy on er­rands to do things that chil­dren would not nor­mally be sus­pected of do­ing by the bad au­thor­i­ties. The adults would also feed him.

He soon learnt the ways of the adults, who con­tin­ued us­ing him on their se­cret mis­sions against the bad au­thor­i­ties. But this taught him cru­cial tricks of sur­vival in the un­friendly coun­try.

Be­cause he had noth­ing to lose, he did ev­ery­thing the adults told him to do. He would throw stones at the bad au­thor­i­ties, he would stand guard, pre­tend­ing to be play­ing while the adults were get­ting up to no good. And the au­thor­i­ties would not sus­pect the lit­tle boy.

While un­der the guid­ance of the adults of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, he learnt to sur­vive in this rough neigh­bour­hood. He soon learnt to shout out the loud­est, and to pick the win­ning side. When his time at school in the vil­lage came to an end, he hadn’t done well at all. Some said he was as thick as a brick, oth­ers said he was as hard as wood. But he had to sur­vive.

So he moved to the big city. Tak­ing his tough sur­vival skills from the vil­lage, one day he led other young­sters through the streets of the city. They came across some adults sell­ing food. Th­ese adults were dif­fer­ent from the trou­ble­some ones in his vil­lage. The now young man and his friends robbed th­ese adults. They ran away with their food and broke into shops and threw rocks at the au­thor­i­ties and other peo­ple. As he grew up, his thiev­ing ways also grew.

Am­bi­tious thieves

So he made friends with more am­bi­tious thieves in the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Th­ese adults stole big things across the coun­try. The young man’s am­bi­tions also grew. He also stole big things. He pre­tended he cared about poor peo­ple, which made them like him. And the or­gan­i­sa­tion al­lowed him near other peo­ple’s money. Soon he was steal­ing big money. He pre­tended to do good things to serve the com­mu­nity. Then he stole even more money and other things.

While he was eat­ing stolen food with the adults of his or­gan­i­sa­tion, the young man grew greedy. He spoke with food in his mouth. He wanted to chase other thieves away from the ta­ble. Then the adults of his or­gan­i­sa­tion chased him away. They took away all the things he had al­ready stolen. His cat­tle and houses and lands. But he had learnt im­por­tant sur­vival skills in his na­tive vil­lage.

So he called other young thieves and they formed their own or­gan­i­sa­tion. And they said they would rep­re­sent the poor peo­ple of the vil­lages. They gave them­selves im­pres­sive names and ti­tles. Dur­ing the day they wore the clothes of poor peo­ple. At night they wore ex­pen­sive clothes, and ate and danced in the can­teens where poor peo­ple were not al­lowed.

They also beat up their own mem­bers if the mem­bers ques­tioned the ways of the lead­er­ship. They beat other peo­ple, too, if they ques­tioned their thiev­ing ways. Now they wanted to steal the whole coun­try from the peo­ple. They said they would steal it and give it to poor peo­ple. Some poor peo­ple be­lieved them.

But when they woke up, ev­ery­thing had been stolen. Again.

While eat­ing stolen food, the young man grew greedy and spoke with food in his mouth. He wanted to chase other thieves from the ta­ble

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