Early days of love
When the dating game was simple, love was perfect. We did not make it complicated, we just did what we thought was right and required at the time. None of us knew any other world than that we lived in. Television was a major influence in terms of how we viewed love. To propose you only needed to write a love letter that will sweep her off her feet instantly. We relied on friends to deliver the letter but sometimes we just shoved it in school bags in between books hoping it will be read and ultimately, responded to.
Even though this carried on for quite a while, some girls were ashamed to claim their boyfriends in public because it was taboo to date while your chest is still flat, as a girl. If they were to find out that you received a letter from a certain boy, oh well, the whole class will make fun of you. Marie biscuits and Mayo dates will follow if you are lucky, and have money. Otherwise constant camping at her house will only be what you will do in hope that her parents will send her somewhere which will then allow you to propose quickly with your friends waiting nearby to jump in whenever you fumble. This also did not guarantee anything but it was worth a shot.
Entered Yizo Yizo
The constant fighting amongst learners angered parents as dangerous weapons like Knives were used. The place of learning that was supposed to be safe quickly turned into a battlefield. Nothing is as dangerous as a teenager in early years of puberty. There are unstoppable and very rude, what they feel is right; it is in their own mind. If elders try to step in to advice them, they risk being attacked.
As OBE was also taking shape, sex education was a new syllabus amongst others introduced at school from Grade 8. Most of us wanted to experiment without considering the dangers of having unprotected sex. What we knew for sure was that if Thiza and Javas can do it, so can we. Teenage pregnancies followed, as with most problems everyone blamed the sex education rather than us. I remember one day asking myself if this was the life I wanted for myself, I knew there was more out there, but with that environment being my reality, the only thing left was to face it and hope for the best.
Yizo Yizo did do bad and good at the same time. The series encouraged us to debate issues that we could not before. The issue of HIV is one that featured a lot. Programmes like Love Life and I am an African were introduced and their success in educating us about the pandemic was revealed through our dedication to these programmes every year. Soul City played as well which meant that the sex education was indeed not only at school but in our living rooms. This extension allowed us to formulate even better ideas about love. But the teenage pregnancies got worse.
Up to this day, it is still a problem. I for one became a father at 19. This experience scared me, in the same time that it helped me discover so many things about my life. Either way, I thank God it happened.
With time, things changed...
Today, a simple SMS can get you dumped faster than Ferrari. Majority of people owning mobile phones, excuses no longer work. Social Media and online chat rooms made it very easy for even that shy guy to express how he feels.
Love is more than just saying; I love you. There is lot that is required from you to make it work. If you are online (Whatsapp) and you do not respond, or call as often as you should, you won’t succeed. Even worse, if you can’t afford to buy her data or airtime, in some cases if she can’t, you might just well forget. However, it’s not all bad; this change makes it very easy to keep flames alive in any way possible. Nudes and video calling are just some of the things that will make your lover wishing he was there with you. Mobile phones allow us to be in contact with our love ones on speed dial. This enhances relationships in a big way.
Love is still complicated, it’s a two way street. Some people date for money while others are just in it for the sake of it. I think loving someone is amazing but when you aren’t loved in return and you are still there, its foolishness. Why be in love knowing very well you will not be able to put in the work needed to make it awesomely perfect?