Family was the most important thing growing up. To us, family was so important. In fact, it was so important, that we actually felt the need to all live together. Literally. In one plot of land, there was my immediate family, up to 10 cousins, grand parents, aunts and uncles and even friends from time to time. Plus a whole bunch of pets. It was absolute chaos. The games never ended. Something was always going on. There was never a moment of quiet, or a moment of peace. However, we loved it that way and wouldn’t of changed it for anything.
As time went by, and we all started to grow older, we slowly went our separate ways. South Africa, at the time, was not the safest of places. Especially for the younger members of the family, including myself, the future didn’t seem so bright anymore. Some ventured across the pond to Australia, urging for a safer future. Some found themselves migrating to Europe, a complete culture shock, to say the least. The rest stayed put, and what once was a home packed to the brim with energy, soon became dormant. Those early years of my childhood and the constant thrill we lived through, quickly became memories as our new lives began.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do is relive my childhood. Going back to where it all started, my cousins and I decided to do just that.
The following pictures are from 2004 and now. 19 years difference.
This was the front of the house. It all seemed a lot bigger when we were younger. Maybe it’s just because we were all a lot smaller. Compared to years ago, the house today perhaps needed a little touch up. Maybe a couple coats of paint will do.
Let’s start outside. Birthdays, parties, or even just on a normal day after school, the back garden was the most densely overpopulated place in the neighbourhood. This is where our childhood happened. It’s packed with an endless amount of stories.
A few of the cousins, yes a few, in the pool. This was a quiet day in that pool.
Me, at my absolute athletic peak, living my best life. Who would’ve thought I’d be diving head first into a pool of briefs just about 20 years later? Probably should’ve stuck to swimming.
This is the life of someone without deadlines. Peaceful, isn’t it?
Countless memories were made in that pool. Today, it’s a shame to see the pool itself, is now becoming a memory.
I used to dive into this pool carefree. Now, if you dived into it, you’d probably come out with a tail and an unknown disease that would become the next pandemic.
There was also a jungle gym. Again, this seemed WAY bigger when I was younger. To us, it was a castle. Now, not so much. This was it back in the day.
Me, at 3 or 4 years old, writing my name on the jungle gym.
This was it now.
Degraded and destroyed, the once magnificent castle was now on its last legs. I used to gallop across that bridge. Now, I saw my life flash before my eyes with every step as the strengthless wood can barely bare any weight these days.
The inside of the house was no better nowadays. Most of our childhood was spent outside, but when the rain came pouring, the kids got drawing. We used to spend hours upon hours drawing pictures together.
Imaginations used to run wild here. Now, mould and stray cats are the only things running wild.
Here are a few other before and after shots.
I actually remember slipping on these stairs once. The pain I felt after tumbling to the bottom was incomparable to anything I’ve felt since. So, the stairs got what they deserved in the end.
Our old bedroom. I will redesign this room one day. Batman Decor went crazy.
This was my ‘Dad’s Lounge’. Get caught slipping in here, and you were finished. Anyone who was considered a ‘child’ was forbidden to enter this room. It was always kept tidy. Everything was placed perfectly. I used to hate the fact that we weren’t allowed in here. My brother, cousin and I felt VIOLATED that we weren’t granted access. We used to come up with so many different theories of what was hidden inside. Treasure? Piles of money? Our second brother?
Now, it’s not that pristine. It’s actually a bit of a shit hole and smells like someone died in there. We used to dream of entering, now, we just wanted to leave. However, we made the most of it and sent a couple of pics to my dad, showing him that we finally managed to invade. Take that, Dad.