Theory of devolution

One of the challenges of living in a reasonably sized place like Cape Town, is trying to avoid being infected by the village mentality that seems so prevalent. By “village mentality”, I am referring to the general tendency to stay within the confines of a particular community and only venture out when you absolutely have to.

Most people do get the urge to spread their wings after they leave school and they’ll typically head off somewhere new and exotic to study / work / travel / spend time in prison, or combinations of the above*. However, the excitement wears a bit thin after a while and eventually, a large proportion will reach a stage where they want to settle down. At this point, some sort of bizarre programming kicks in and one by one, they start drifting back to the old neighbourhood until it bears an eerie time-shifted resemblance to the way it used to be twenty years ago.

Maybe this is the human equivalent of salmon swimming upstream to spawn and die. It certainly goes some way towards explaining the common lament by singles about how difficult it is to meet new people in a city of millions. It may also explain why – in some areas** – each successive generation seems to be just a little bit thicker than the previous one. Urban hillbillies in the making.

* yes, I am speaking from experience
** the southern suburbs being a prime example


32 thoughts on “Theory of devolution

  1. Ok I’ve finished sulking about having to pay for my OWN Happy Meal. Harumph!
    Yay, I’m the first to comment – do I get a prize? Don’t answer that.
    Having lived in the Southern Suburbs my entire life, I can completely relate to what you’re saying. I however migrated from the South to the North about 3 years ago. Was a HUGE culture shock but I can now honestly say I would never move back there.


  2. I find this all quite insulting because you have inadvertently referenced two of my blog posts from back in the day.

    (But you’re right.)

    So where should we go, then, to meet people where we can park for free* (close by*), meet people that don’t suck*, and not be acossted/mugged/raped/killed*?

    *Such an optimistic Capetonian, aren’t I?


  3. anne: That’s the trouble with the world today – everyone has their hand out.

    Bee: I hate it when that happens.

    Luke: I prefer Fiona Apple to Dee Appel.

    Mandy: I went as far as Port Elizabeth and we all know how well that worked out, so I’m not really the one you should ask.


  4. Well, you kinda wrote your blog post as if you had an answer. False representaton, I do declare!

    Ok, wait. I’ve re-read your post. I read the fact that you had the answer into it.



  5. OK – first off we live in the Southern Suburbs, and yes, orginally, Mrs Flo was from just down the road in Bergvliet.

    But note the difference here – she brough in fresh stock from overseas (me). This rejuvination of the SS gene pool by one such as myself, bringing, as I do, both intelligence and good looks into the equation, can only be a good thing.

    On a more serious note, it does make it easier to get a babysitter when granny lives just around the corner. I think this may be the primary reasoning behind this homing instinct.


  6. Fascinating topic and excellent theory, Kyk, and I think it IS like the salmon swimming back home.

    But maybe to live, not die.

    I was born in Edmonton but raised in Winnipeg (where my parents grew up and met and married) from age 5 or so.

    When I graduated, got a job and got married, I was in a strange twist of fate transferred back to Edmonton.

    I worked there for about 13 years, my two kids were born there, but my whole family and roots were in Winnipeg. I quit my job in Edmonton and moved back to Winnipeg.

    My marriage promptly broke up, but here I am, that salmon who made the same upstream swim twice.

    And I’m very alive.


  7. Nice theory, K, but if you grew up in a quiet fishing village/ferry terminal that morphed into the most desirable and therefore expensive real estate in Canada, then you can guarantee that none of us who grew up there live there now. Besides, they say you can’t go home again. Don’t they? (Please?)


  8. OMG… my parents grew up, worked, and went to school in the same place i am in now… this is some scary ess-aitch-one-tee people!
    there may well be something to your theory kyk…


  9. i moved from the other side of the boerewors curtain (ie northern suburbs) to the southern suburbs when i was at UCT. Haven’t looked back since. What was scary was that i went back to see my sister in a school play, bumped into a friend from high school, and discovered that 90% of my graduating class had never left the suburb, and were married with children only a few years after matriculating. The only thing worse than going back to where you started is never leaving.


  10. Flo: Be assured that the gene pool is very grateful to Mrs Flo.

    WW: Well, okay then. Thus cheerfully illustrating the point that humans have a choice in the matter, whereas the unfortunate Pacific salmon does not.

    Andrea: Yes, “they” have a lot to say, don’t they? Oh – and just so that you know – I’m one of “them”.

    Katt: I’ll bet you aced your poetry exams, too.


    The Tart: What? No more cupcakes?

    moonflake: There’s hope for us yet. Perhaps we can postpone the Brave New World for a generation or two.


  11. Kyk from my experience – because I’ve lived in both a small town and sprawling city – the city village mentality is worse.

    It’s the suburban thing. What you guys have in your southern suburbs, is exactly what happens here in the northern suburbs. It’s crazy.

    I have a good mind to move into the centre of town.


  12. LiVEwiRe: Do they still do that? I thought that function had been outsourced.

    Peas on Toast: I would too – if I could afford it.

    Dolce: Pity. It would make a great party trick if you could πŸ™‚


  13. In my caveman days, I used to think travelling from Tokai to St James or Kalk Bay in search of quality gene pool rejuvinators (intelligent and beautiful women) was a necessary and vital bi-annual major expedition!

    Don’t mention the trip to Clifton. It brings tears to grown men’s eyes.


  14. You peeps are all just depressing me … just when I felt all warm n fuzzy about Table Mountain in SA. I honestly believe you all live in San Antonio Texas (my old home town) … it just sounds too much the same, rednecks & hillbillies, bother.

    Makes me wonder if I am just an Urban Texas Hillbilly hiding out in Dallas. Sheesh … Am slinking back to Tart Bakery to load up on buttercream. ; P

    Salmon smooch,
    The Tart

    Ps. Java has kicked in Kyk, natch!
    Pss. What’s in Clifton … cupcakes?


  15. The art displays were uniformly competent and pleasant, with one or two noteworthy exceptions

    Robert: I’m sure Clifton misses you too.

    The Tart: Yee Haw! If you want to know what Clifton has to offer, you’ll just have to come and visit and find ourt for yourself.

    Inyoka: A common misconception. It actually ends on the southern side of the Black River.

    whatalotoffun: You haven’t missed much. It’s a bit like a soap-opera, but without any real content.


  16. I thought I could count my blessings here – grew up moving around Zimbabwe, born in East London etc…. until I realize that I live and work at the same place I went to high-school. DAMN!


  17. Yee haw yerself ya flippin billy!
    Careful fer what ya ask fer … the next flight out may have a hillbilly Tart sitten on one of the seats … so the news stand says ~ 2 silver coins worth!

    Wicked jacked up latte smooch,


  18. That would then make me a village idiot too because I have lived and worked here all my life. It is my comfort zone and I will hold on to it for now thank you very much.


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