Centurion - My Hometown

I’ve been living in this town for forty years. I grew up here. When we moved in way back in 1972 the roads were still gravel and most of the houses were still under construction. The plans were basic, and the houses started out as simple three-bedroomed units. In the seventies when we were kids we went to school barefoot and played and fished down at the river. Television came in 1975, but we still played games such as spinning tops and playing marbles. We listened to the radio in the afternoons. In those days our town was young and comprised mostly of young couples with children. We had our own primary school.

In the eighties we were teenagers and went to a secondary-school nearby. This was the boom period of our little town. The people were well-off and several had successful businesses. Rich folk like these would make large alterations to their properties although our gardens are not very large. People were wealthy and the town prospered. We listened to rock music and went to school. My brother attended university after finishing school, and I went to the army to do my national service.

Thereafter I went down to the coast and started an apprenticeship in the building trade. I travelled like this quite a bit when I was young, but always returned home to my mother’s house after one of my travels. In the meantime my brother had received his BSc and Honours in Maths. He worked as a lecturer and I was in and out of jobs. We both still stayed at home. These were our twenties. We partied and friends sometimes came and visited. The recession was tough and we weren’t rich, but somehow we managed to survive. I then worked for several years as a barman, while my brother completed his PhD. All those years we stayed in the same little house, in the same little suburb.

Post 2000 I went to study a bit myself; BA Languages, but did not complete my degree. I also started writing, and this took over all my time and effort. Our town is now in the old part of Centurion, which has expanded immensely over the last few decades. Most of the development is out to the west, which seems to be the prosperous side of the city.  The old part where we live is now crime-ridden and poverty stricken. There are frequent beggars in the street, and it being an open suburb, one’s security is at risk. We now seem to be comprised of older people and ordinary folk.

I’ve been fixing up the old place these last few years, in order that my mother might sell it if she ever wishes to. Forty years is a long time, but nothing lasts forever. The day we do decide to pack up and leave; we can at least say ‘we had a good innings.’ 

Top: Pretoria Morning Skyline.

Bottom: The Lakeside - Centurion, 1989.

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