The race of the grasshopper

June 17, 2009

Ntendeni Luvhengo

First year journalism

When I was in grade five, I learnt that South Africa had different ethnic groups. Some examples of these ethnic groups are Venda, Tsonga and Sotho people. I knew about gender and racial barriers but had no idea that even people of the same race could be divided into different groups. I was surprised because I thought that all black people shared similar struggles and were bonded as one.

It was summer in my hometown of Venda. All Venda village children knew that summer meant one thing-catching locusts and grasshoppers. We used to catch grasshoppers when they were resting on leaves or plants. The technique is, like a cheetah wanting to catch prey; you slowly walk towards the grasshopper with your body bent a little. You should make sure that you make no sounds that can make the grasshopper fly away. As you arrive next to it, you quickly put your hand on the body of the grasshopper to prevent it from escaping.

The thing that drew my attention was the different names that Venda kids named different grasshoppers. I realised that, not only did apartheid leave racial barriers in South Africa, but it left ethnical barriers too.

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June 17, 2009

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