A young South African has written a post that is being shared across social media platforms for all the right reasons.
Bongani Kumbula eloquently wrote a childhood memory that everyone needs to read. It’s heart-breaking and beautiful at the same time. Everyone should be a pool noodle boy.
Read the full post below:
I was 7yrs old rocking a speedo at the pool with my brother who was looking equally fantastic in his speedo. We were doing our thing which is a mixture of the doggy paddle/crawl/I don’t want to get my head wet because I am black and I don’t fox with water like that.
These were the days of Bart Simpson, Arcades in malls, around about the time of that really boring day when they played no cartoons all day because some guy called Chris Hani got shot.
I was busy drowning swimming when some kid hit my brother with a pool noodle. A metre long foam pencil shaped floatation device.
My brother knew everything. He was a legend. He was using tipex when I was limited to an eraser. Amazing.
He got hit with this pool noodle and chased this kid around and thus a friendship was born.
Like any good annoying younger brother I came free of charge. No introduction needed. Beat me with thy noodle and bestow friendship upon me. I don’t know what’s going on but I want in. Or I’m telling.
The kid beat me with his noodle. And the three of us spent a good afternoon beating our noodle. When we were sweaty and done thoroughly beating off noodles another young lady of about 8 came for a swim.
Noodle boy knew her and proceeded to do introductions. All was jolly.
She had a Sega Mega Drive and suggested we go play Sonic the Hedgehog at her place. Great idea young lady.
Winning. Really winning.
That was like the coolest tv game console back then and we were all keen to go play. We gathered our belongings and ran down the hill to her house.
When we got there little young lady proceeded to inform me and my brother that we couldn’t enter her house because we were black and her parents didn’t like blacks.
But pool noodle boy was welcome because he was white.
In that moment I first became conscious of my blackness. My black skin. That I just didn’t look different from some people but that it might be a hindrance to progress in life. Progress into her house to Sonic the Hedgehog and an awesome time of fun.
I was suddenly really sad because it’s not just her house that I couldn’t enter, it was cool pool noodle boy she was taking from me as well. He was really cool.
He could imitate Jim Carrey to a tee which was important back in the early 90’s.
So I mourned the loss of this new friend in the few moments outside her home, hating being born black because I now could not play Sega and promising to fix it like Michael Jackson fixed his as soon as I make some money.
I did all this because what kid would choose to beat some kids who could barely swim wth a pool noodle over playing Sega.
I know what I would choose. I would choose the tv games.
He looked at her and said “No thanks, I think I will go play with Bongani and Thabang at the pool.”.
He did that.
I think he was also 9yrs old. He chose to be our friend. Race didn’t matter. It was a little thing that he did but it has stuck with me all my life. He chose to be a good human because we were being discriminated against. He chose to not further himself (because as kids its all about fun) by playing a hot new TV game and kept it simple with us.
That girl was not bad.
She was just regurgitating what her parents taught her.
I don’t know if pool noodle boy was just taught well, or knew inherently what it means to be a good person but he acted with class.
That scene keeps playing over in my head every time something racist happens and appears in the news, trends, tries to spoil a social gathering. I always choose to see the good, the positive, the middle ground.
Pool noodle boy was ahead of his time.
And when you feel the hatred rise in you think of the good Pool noodle boy. I know to many to count, that’s why the Penny Sparrows don’t get me to riled up.