The Limited-edition Generation

In the times before video games, cellphones and Internet, there was a world of marbles, skipping ropes and bare feet

It is said that people born between 1950 and 1980 are the blessed ones. The awesome people. Their lives are proof of that. While playing and riding bicycles, they never bothered to wear helmets. They played marbles and hide-and-seek, and jumped over skipping ropes. After school, they played until dusk. They didn’t watch the world on TV, shut away in a room. They played only with their real friends, not with website friends.

If they felt thirsty, they drank tap water or water from the stream. Bottled water didn’t exist. They didn’t fall ill by sharing the same juice or a drink with four other friends. On special days like Christmas and New Year, it was luxury to be served rice and chicken and it was okay. Nothing happened to their bare feet even after roaming and kicking balls made of rags or rubber.

They never used any health supplements to keep themselves healthy. They created their own toys, from cartons or tins. Their parents were not rich, and they never chased after money. They just searched for and gave only love, rather than worldly possessions. They never had mobile phones, DVDs, play stations, video games or personal computers; they didn’t post on Instagram or Facebook – but they had many good friends.

They used to visit their friends’ homes unannounced. They didn’t have to ask for their parents’ permission to visit their friends. Loving people were all around them, so their hearts and souls were happy.

The ultimate is that they’re a unique and understanding generation, because they’re the last generation who listened to their parents and also the first that have to listen to their children. They’re the last set of people to have walked kilometres barefoot to school, and now they take their children to school in cars. They’re the last generation to enjoy free public school education but the first to pay to have their children to be taught in private schools.

They had less homework than today, so they could help their parents with household duties – but now they have to assist their own children with their homework. They’re not special, but they do make up a limited-edition, endangered species and I am proud to belong to this noble generation.

Emilie Olifant is a disability activist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is the director of the Emilie Olifant Foundation, an organisation that strives to address socio-economic issues experienced by people with disabilities. email:

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