WHEN I was young, the “money is the root of all evil” phrase was one I was quite familiar with.
If it was not being bandied about in conversations, there were phrases in books that made me think that without money, life would be quite simple.
In my young mind, money was able to buy the car to take you from point A to B, and buy the food that would keep starvation at bay.
I rationalised at the time that had there not been money in the world, many of life’s problems would probably not have been there.
But it also made sense to me why money would have such a reputation: didn’t Judas Iscariot betray the Son of Man for a few pieces of silver?
Over the years, however, the negative connotations associated with money slowly disappeared.
Money was no longer evil, but rather king.
And suddenly, moola had the power to do the impossible.
Haven’t we seen old men with leathery skins and one foot in the grave pulling young gorgeous models, only because of the depth of their pockets?
Not only would they marry them, but these young women would also end up bearing them children.
Usually young women don’t like being pursued by much older men, as they find the whole idea of an older man wooing a woman barely out of her teens distasteful.
But attitudes seem to change when the one being pursued finds that madala’s pockets are in fact very deep.
Instead of being a “dirty old man”, he would suddenly be “dzaddy” – a term of endearment used to describe a man past his prime but who, according to today’s youngsters, can get it.
Such is the power of money… It has the ability to change an undesirable man or woman into the perfect suitor.
But money also has healing powers and can turn a cloudy day into a bright one.
I witnessed this on December 31, when I was home for the festive holidays in Mahikeng.
A friend had requested her employers to rather pay her salary after Christmas because she still wanted to have money left over in January, a month when most people struggle to make ends meet.
But when December 31 dawned, she was becoming uneasy when she did not get the SMS notification that her salary was in her account.
We decided to go into town and check at the ATM.
We got into the car and drove into town in search of one.
She returned from the ATM dejected. There was no money yet, and for the rest of that day she was no longer her bubbly self.
Out of the blue she complained of stomach cramps. While she was still dealing with that, her hands started aching.
“I can hardly move them,” she said, clenching them to her chest, while continuing to wallow in her sadness.
But when the SMS came through, it changed everything. The woman who had been ill suddenly perked up.
“Iyoo Gwen (that’s what she calls me), I need to go home and put on some jeans and we need to go into town. I have finally received my money,” she said excitedly.
I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a person who was in agony a few moments ago, rejoicing. She rushed to her house and when she returned, the dress, sandals and doek had been discarded for jeans, sneakers and a weave. She even had make-up on.
The sickly person who had been complaining of aches and pains earlier had vanished. In her place was an energetic young woman wanting to party.
As we later sat outside waiting to cross over to 2019, and watching her do the vosho… I marvelled at the healing power of money.