Twice this week, I’ve experienced the joy of watching grandparents playing with young children in nature – sharing with them an experience of fun, freedom and fascination. In contrast, less than a week ago the country’s attention was drawn, yet again, to the terrible abuse that so many innocent children suffer at the hands of their elders. This poem is a tribute to the grandparents and other ‘grand-friends’ who lead South Africa by loving, respecting and nurturing little children.

 

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Buckets, spades and beaches,
Tupperwares and tadpoles.
Grannies standing by
Guarding sacred play.
Rituals of childhood –
Nothing really changes –
The same delighted squeals:
“I caught a big one – see!”

Witnessing, acknowledging
Every little action,
Encouraging and guiding,
Giving time to be
In the company of Nature:
Beach and stream and garden,
Forest trail and playground,
Places to be free.

Celebrate the grannies,
The grandpas and the grand-friends
For their gift of time
And their memories of play,
Their willingness to enter
A world of childhood wonder
To nurture mild adventures
And curiosity.

 

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