I was born and raised in Kalongo and grew up there in the 50s and 60s.
I have very fond memories of those times which were almost idyllic. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly had its ups and downs but overall, it was a very happy time and I had a relatively good childhood.
I attended St Theresa girls primary school which was run by Catholic sisters. As you can imagine with a Catholic school, it had very strict rules but we still had some freedom. The students were allowed to get involved in various activities such as sports, music and singing competitions. We also got involved in small horticultural activities as the school used to grow its own food.
My favourite activity was sports which I absolutely loved and this really was one of the highlights of growing up in Kalongo.
Participation in sports allowed us to keep fit and created opportunities for different schools within the deaconry to challenge each other and also compete with others outside the deaconry.
I was encouraged to participate in athletics and was chosen to run in the 100 meter and 200-meter relays. I excelled at both. I attended sports events and lots of competitions between various schools in the district and won most of them.
Passing the time
I lived locally so I was a day student while others boarded at school. I would get home after school, rest for a while then help my parents with the housework. I cooked, cleaned and fetched water then completed my homework. This was the norm back then and still is for many children in Kalongo today. After the day’s work was completed, we would catch up with friends if there was still enough time in the day.
At the weekends I would either help my parents in our shop or help them with the farm.
On Sundays after church we would head home to eat and relax while my mother would join the other women for social activities.
A safe haven
Kalongo back then was a very safe place to live. It certainly was not crime-free and there were people who were well known for petty crimes but that was about it.
It was a safe place for kids to grow up and people took care of each other. People would leave their doors open when they popped out to the shops and their homes and belongings would be perfectly safe.
Looking to the future
I live a long way away from Kalongo now but Kalongo is forever in my heart. I visit often and still see glimpses of those simpler times. That magic that I remember so vividly is still there and I hope everyone gets a chance to experience it.
A contributor to the Kalongo Times.