Born In Chains

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO CITY BEAT -

What is it like to be born dirt-poor in South Africa? Clin­ton Chauke knows, hav­ing been raised along­side his two sis­ters in a re­mote vil­lage bor­der­ing the Kruger Na­tional Park and a squat­ter camp out­side Pre­to­ria.

Clin­ton is a young vil­lage boy when aware­ness dawns of how poor his fam­ily re­ally is: there’s no theft in the vil­lage be­cause there’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing to steal.

But fire de­stroys the fam­ily hut, and they de­cide to move back to the city.

There he is forced to con­front the rough-and-tum­ble of ur­ban life as a ‘bump­kin’.

He is Venda, whereas most of his class­mates speak Zulu or Tswana and he has to face their ridicule while try­ing to pick up two or more lan­guages as fast as pos­si­ble.

With great self-aware­ness, Clin­ton ne­go­ti­ates the pit­falls and life­lines of a young life: crime and drugs, foot­ball, re­li­gion, friend­ship, school, cir­cum­ci­sion and, ul­ti­mately, be­com­ing a man.

Through­out it all, he dis­plays de­ter­mi­na­tion as well as a self­dep­re­cat­ing hu­mour that will keep you turn­ing the pages to the end.

Clin­ton’s story is one that will give you hope that even in a sea of poverty there are those that refuse to give up and, ul­ti­mately, suc­ceed.

About the au­thor

Clin­ton Chauke is a so­cial critic, a fierce de­bater and a Pan-African­ist at heart.

He is cur­rently work­ing as a ju­nior min­ing tech­ni­cian at So­lar Min­ing Ser­vices, one of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers and sup­pli­ers of ex­plo­sives in the world.

He can be de­scribed in many words, but one la­bel he flatly re­jects is that of ‘born-free’ - sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing he was born in 1994.

Clin­ton ar­gues that nei­ther he nor the peo­ple born in and after 1994 are truly free.

Ti­tle: Born In Chains Au­thor: Clin­ton Chauke Pub­lisher: Jonathan Ball Pub­lish­ers

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