The curses and gifts of being a First-born child in a black family.

Now this is not a quick read; So, if you’re hoping to just skim through eish! Get yourself comfortable, if you’re in the loo, well sit there and be “comfortable” too?
I remember growing up with my cousin who’s the same age as me, I am just older by months; we were the same age but had totally different perspectives of life. We were growing up in the same environment per se, but our values and beliefs didn’t match. He for one had total disrespect for money, his worse quality and neither of our mothers had money to spare and throw about.
He hated working hard and perhaps more. It would only be later in life that I would realise we were the same age but at home, I was the first born while he was living the life of last born. His actions were easily excused, so he could lax a bit.
Now without dealing too much about my cousin, I want to focus on me as a first born, I am sure my cousin had his own suffering, although later I do make another example using him.
In a black household if you’re a first born you tend to have a lot on your shoulder, sometimes it’s not necessarily forced upon, sometimes you see it for yourself. Hopes and dreams sit on you as if you’re an arse, a donkey.
These are curses and gifts that come with this title first born.
Value of money!
As a first born in a semi-broke family, maybe leaning more towards broke. I learnt early on the value of money. I learnt what it means to have money and what it meant not to have it. Mom woke up early in the morning at about 3am to catch a taxi, so she can go to town and start selling some fruits and vegetables. Appreciate these parents, there is a lot going on in their lives. Anyhow, it had to be that early cause the picking up her equipment, setting it up, going to buy new fruits had to be done before people started making noise. I know this because there were days were, I didn’t go to school, that I woke up too. So, mom worked for money, she saved a lot, on the little she had she gave me that R2 for school too, well back in the days R2 was lotta money “I know, I’m a dinosaur, shut up!”. R2 wasn’t that much compared to other kids but I didn’t complain, sometimes that R2 would be for a week. I am not exaggerating.

Honestly, I never learnt how to ask for money from my mother, even when I needed it, I couldn’t ask for it; even days were she’d ask do I need it, I’d reply with “ngi-right”. I was scared to ask for money; I was scared that she’d yell at me, and that if I asked there would be no more money. I still refrain asking for money even today.
She did everything, I use to hate how I walked when I was young. My shoes teared up quickly at the soles and I’d need new shoes which would require money. Mom would yell and whip me of course, then she’d buy new shoes which I knew were expensive. So, I began hiding my broken shoes, I remember hiding a pair so broken that those irritating rocks would slide up the sole, painful. Worse I remember I had no more shoes that I would steal moms’ black boots and wear them to school. I can’t believe I did that
There are so many events that occurred during the young days were money was involved but it would be too long. In varsity, which was difficult, I didn’t have financial aid. However, I soon received news that I will get it, after 6 months. As soon as I got it, I sent 75% of it to my mom. I recently told her that and she was shocked. I told her how much I used to get with F.A and she said but that’s almost the same money you sent me. Don’t get me wrong we were not broke, we were managing. I just thought she’d have more use for it than I did.

I value money, I don’t buy what I don’t need. When I buy food, I buy in bulk. My friends think I am stingy when I use the words its cheaper somewhere else that I know. It’s just that I respect not having money, it sucks. I usually hate brand clothing, the nikes, adidas, guess etc. I hate it because it’s expensive. There’s my cousin again. He loved the brands. I couldn’t understand why he was like that. He saw the financial struggle the family had, but he’d force aunt to get him these clothes and aunt would force her pocket somehow. I hated him for it. My mom would want to get me the same clothes, but I would recline, I didn’t need them. I could get two t-shirts with that money I would say and we’d get two. Even now I still have that belief.

I learnt how to be a parent without kids!
Yes, one of the highlights of being a FIRST born is that you must take care of your younger siblings. You must bathe these bastards, cook for them, wash their clothes while still having to wash yours and house chore “fucking hated these, because there never end. How many times do I have to wash the dishes and mop the floor, fuck”?
So, I had to be a parent, would find myself yelling like my mother at times and whipping some asses. Mom was hard on me, but she wasn’t so hard on my siblings, I hated it and sometimes my frustration would just be thrown towards the innocent little bastards.
Learning to cook!
I really learnt how to cook! I don’t know how many phuthus were burnt and how many rice overcooked or undercooked, but I had to learn, my mom came back late so I had to at least ease that burden or I was afraid my ass was gonna get whopped, but frankly I saw it and understood
Education is key?!
I learnt the value of education. Let me be honest, at this stage in my life I might be busy questioning the value of education but young it was the only thing keeping me from going insane and only thing that seemed to give an illusion of hope. I am told at a very young age I loathed school; I use to bunk but after a certain ass whipping, I stopped. “Yeah, my moms’ face really lights up when she tells this story, I think it’s one of her proudest ass whips”
I can’t remember that, I have forever looked at education as the only escape, the only hero for my family; so, I dedicated my life to learning. I spent most my youth in a book of some sort. I found more joy in learning that I did outside, not that I didn’t want to play, I just didn’t see how it could help me help my family, so I kept learning.

Black Tax!
I honestly think if you have a job in a black household you suffer from this, as first born however your pockets really get dug into. It’s horrible but for me as I explained, I grew up having an understanding. My friend Mlondi and I talk about this, I mean when there is no one working hardly any money is needed in a black household, but as soon as someone has a job, it’s like things that need money come from every side.

Starting a family!
I am the only child amongst three from mom that looks like her. “I can tell you that when I was young, she denied it, but it’s obvious”. So, in that spirit and the fact that I am first born, I am always pressured into starting a family. My mom constantly says she doesn’t want to die not having seen a grandchild that looks like her. “Uhmmm okay mom”
I am constantly asked when is uMakoti coming home to “cook” for her, she’s tired of it. It certainly doesn’t help that my little brother has a fiancee, “yeah! That bastard with fucking 10kids wacela, thanks a lot asshole”. Mother! I can’t have a baby because I am broke. Honestly mom, I am a prime example first born that understands what it is like to grow up in a home with not enough money, if I bring a child into that sort of life, I am creating an endless loop.
Honestly, I think the list of things goes on and on. I am thinking right now, I bet girls have their own sufferings too and I would certainly love to hear what goes on in their life’s. On its own being a child in a black household has its ups and downs does not matter if you’re first, middle or last, we suffer different curses and gifts. What’s important and I think makes the difference is the values and beliefs the person chooses to follow, because let’s be honest there are deadbeat first-borns and successful last-born; Sometimes the middle child is the one to make the difference. Asazi!
Curses and Gifts, depends on how you look at it right?
I certain feel like I left somethings out and I know others do have somethings to add, so let me hear you speak in 2020.
~Purplish Flowers

2 Replies to “The curses and gifts of being a First-born child in a black family.”

  1. Mmmm!!!.. I’m literally in tears right now coz I’m also a first born and I feel like I’m the deputy parent to my siblings and izinto azihlangani. On the other side black tax is waiting for me if something will work out. This got me so emotional 😭💔


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