Rum­ble in the banana jun­gle

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO OPINION -

In 1983, in stan­dard one, I had a fist­fight with Leroy Doubell, right in the mid­dle of class.

I said his mother’s mous­tache will put Mag­num PI to shame, and Leroy in re­turn, said my mom’s hairdo looks as if a cat died on her head.

The fight lasted just as long as it took for Mrs Barnard to reach us.

She broke it up by wield­ing a one me­tre long wooden black­board ruler like it was King Arthur’s sword, and she the warrior queen.

She didn’t lay a hand on us. Just wood!

Dur­ing the com­mo­tion some benches fell over, the girls started cry­ing and Pi­eter Vo­gel wet­ted his trousers.

Our par­ents weren’t sum­moned to ap­pear be­fore the school gov­ern­ing board, no one was of­fered trauma coun­selling and Mrs Barnard wasn’t jailed for at­tempted mur­der.

If it wasn’t for the fact that our par­ents were made to pay for the ruler she broke on our spines, I doubt whether they would’ve even been no­ti­fied of the ‘lit­tle’ in­ci­dent.

Eye of the tiger

I fought again in 1987.

I was 14, so it was a bit more se­ri­ous, but again fe­male fa­cial hair got me into trou­ble.

Martin Kotze said I have nice legs for a girl, so I asked him how it feels to kiss Fred­die Mer­cury – he was dat­ing a Greek girl.

Not ac­cept­ing his chal­lenge would have meant so­cial sui­cide, so the rum­ble in the jun­gle was sched­uled for sec­ond break and the venue was the boys’ change rooms.

Word spread like so­cial un­rest in a town­ship, so by break time Martin and I ar­rived at a packed venue with some mock pre-fights al­ready in progress as the smaller boys jos­tled for space.

He threw the first punch and caught me by sur­prise, be­cause I was busy amus­ing the hun­dred or so spec­ta­tors with an Eye of the Tiger air-punch demon­stra­tion.

But, for some­one with ‘nice legs for a girl’, I made a pretty de­cent Rocky II-like re­cov­ery and soon Martin was also bleed­ing through his nose.

Then, again, tim­ber came into play - a thick piece of mer­anti swung in­dis­crim­i­nately by the wood­work teacher, Mr Viljoen.

10 min­utes later we were back in class with the whole in­ci­dent for­got­ten.


Those are good mem­o­ries but I don’t want them over, es­pe­cially not in to­day’s messed up times.

If Martin and I have to slog it out right now, things will be a lot dif­fer­ent:

He will prob­a­bly stab me with scis­sors or just get his older brother to shoot me af­ter school.

A gory video clip will be up­loaded on YouTube in 15 min­utes, and sur­face on a news web­site in another 20.

Be­ing a crick­eter, Martin spent a fair amount of time in the sun, so it will be a racial thing.

A political party will recog­nise the po­ten­tial for free pub­lic­ity

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