Rumble in the banana jungle
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