My Cape Town Childhood

I am a kid of the eighties and nineties which was an awesome time to grow up in.  Children played out in the street.  From teased hair to roller-skates and Excitements to Pepe Jean Dungarees.  Timeless music at a time when music artists actually could sing and changes in the South African political landscape.  I truly feel I am privileged to have witnessed and grown though so much. I wrote a previous post about my childhood, if you care care to read, click here.


The thing that sticks out most is time spent playing.  I am one of those kids who changed schools quite a bit only settling down in high school.  I have met many people along the way but most significantly getting to know the children in my street. My sister and I and the two brothers next door were the only English kids in the predominantly Afrikaans town of Eerste River (First River for direct translation).  Not an easy thing when the language barrier is also a social barrier.


Because I was already friends with the two sisters on the other next door it helped to integrate me into the world of them.  Pretty soon I was one of the runts out playing till curfew (which was 6pm – light or dark).  Some of the games we played were:

  • Nikki’s (kick a ball and sprint lest you get tagged out),
  • Three Sisters (three kids alternating jumping over a tennis ball),
  • Drie Blikkies (Three Tins – throwing a tennis ball at three tins and trying to make the tower fall),
  • Drie Stokkies (Three Sticks – I just realised a lot of the names are in Afrikaans – three sticks equally place but treated as a type of long jump. The last person to jump is called the stretcher.  Where he/she ends is the new marker to beat)
  • Raising Tou (Rising Rope – like three sticks, except, with pantyhose used as a rope raised in increments),
  • Buck, Buck Rogers (I have no idea how to explain this).
  • King, Loafer (Four Squares each representing a social status – the highest being king and the lowest, loafer),
  • Cricket (I was Alan Donald)

I will say my favourite was BMX-ing with guava juice bottles acting as motorbike throttles and jumping ramps…Yeah, I was never a girly girl…Oh, the joy of freewheeling on a downhill slope as you hear the whizz of your “throttle” all the way down. Just thinking of neon orange make-believe Suzuki makes me smile.


I feel sorry for kids today who will never know the joys of playing outside and the neighbours being surrogate parents like I did.  The world now is kinda dark so I count myself fortunate to have grown up with the freedom I had.  Seems a strange thing to say, I know, but think about it.


What are some of the games you played as a child?  What was your childhood like?


This is the Day 2 title of the AfroBloggers #BlogTemberChallenge


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2 thoughts on “My Cape Town Childhood

  1. I had the English language barrier thing too. Lived in M/Plain and went to school in Wynberg. Always flt like an outsider but play is its own language in a way. You have stumbled upon a can of something there. Play. And how things have changed since then. Anyhoo. Good luck for your September challenge! I will be following and have challenged myself too… to comment, that is. hehe

    1. I moved from Westridge which had a goid language split to Eerste River where English was non-existence. I think with Mitchells Plain it all depended on location.

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