Born ten years after the echoes of World War II faded, my childhood unfolded in a South Africa still bearing the scars of conflict. Poverty was a constant companion, gripping our land like a relentless winter. The farms, once vibrant, lay in disrepair, their owners forced to fight wars they barely understood.
Our lives were a tapestry woven from resourcefulness and resilience. Homes lacked running water and electricity, and the "kakhuisie," a wooden structure in the backyard, served as our primitive toilet. At night, we relied on the faint glow of candles, venturing to the outhouse only with trepidation.
But amidst the scarcity, our spirits soared. We were pioneers, crafting solutions from the remnants of a war-torn world. Old car wrecks became our source of power, their generators salvaged to illuminate our homes. Wooden fan blades, spun by the wind, breathed life into batteries, casting away the shadows that once shrouded our nights.
My father, a man of vision, was the first to bring running water to our doorstep. He built a dam in the mountain, channeling its lifeblood into our home through pipes. The simple joy of running water, of turning on taps and relishing its flow, was a luxury we once thought unattainable.
Our ingenuity extended to sanitation. The "flash lavatory," a marvel of its time, replaced the "kakhuisie." A chain pull sent our waste cascading down pipes and into the depths of the earth, replacing the unpleasant journey to the outhouse with a modern convenience.
For warmth and hygiene, we relied on a copper geyser, fueled by sticks and leaves, warming the water in our makeshift bath. In town, gas geysers hummed, but for us, resourcefulness was the only currency. When generators arrived, their high cost spurred us to build our own, using "Breek-aen-Staan" engines and salvaged generators.
Though we lacked television, cellphones, and computers, our lives were rich with laughter and community. We thrived without the modern luxuries that bind people today, finding joy in the simple act of being together.
Looking back, I am struck by a curious contrast. We, with our limited resources, found happiness in the bonds we forged and the challenges we overcame. Yet, those who have so much today seem plagued by discontent. Perhaps, the true riches lie not in material possessions, but in the spirit of resilience and the joy of a life lived with purpose.
All content published in this post is an expression of Deon van Danville’s life growing up. The author has no right over this content and has published it only after taking consent from the writer which here in this case is: Deon van Danville
Source: Deon van Danville Facebook Feed
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