On Saturday night, during a heated discussion about underwear modelling, a friend exclaimed that she’d never raise her children in South London. The next day, a different friend tweeted that he wouldn’t raise his children in London and another agreed with him. This got me thinking.
I’ve lived in South London for seventeen years (2.5years I spent in Nigeria), it’s the only place I’ve ever really considered home. The two bedroom, on the third floor, in a block of flats that has hides the estate and half-park behind it, but boasts one of the best views in London in front of it, is all I know about home. I have a loyalty to this place. I have never been involved in gang culture, nor post-code wars, I’ve never been stopped & searched, nor seen anyone get stabbed/shot/killed. I’ve seen fights, I’ve seen police wait outside school gates to arrest another boy too young to know his life-plan, I’ve heard of people who have died from stab wounds, I’ve heard of people being robbed because they were too short/not black enough/too defenceless; and I suppose these are the things that come with London. But I don’t know, I guess I fall into the shrinking percentage that doesn’t mind the bad. Of course, I’d prefer for there to be no evil and everybody live joyfully but that’s not reality. Maybe people are considering London’s reality too harsh, but there are worse.
I go to university in Kingston but my campus is very close to Surbiton. Surbiton is beautiful, real suburb area. A place to raise children and have bbqs and stuff. It’s cute. I wouldn’t mind raising my children here, it’s not too far from London and it’s nice but it lacks culture and personality. All you can really do in Surbiton is admire it’s beauty and that gets old very quickly especially as there isn’t much of it. And frankly, I’m far more scared of walking through Surbiton at 10pm than I am of walking through Brixton at 1am because Brixton never sleeps. Surbiton is the kind of place where you’d scream and nobody would hear or see and you’d be gone without a witness to see your vanishing act. There are always witnesses in Brixton. I mean recent rates show that crime in London is decreasing so, I mean, things are getting better, right?
Honestly, I don’t know. I have fears of my brother joining a gang and I know if we lived somewhere like Surbiton, the likely hood of that would be lower but surely Surbiton (& other suburbs) posses different threats? Suburbs are predominately white after all so the chances of overt racism are increased, and to me that’s just as bad.
There’s a certain kind of beauty that can only be found in the city, South of the river. It’s something that has kept me in it’s locks for all these years and hopefully the many years to come. I find the sirens and constant movement tranquil. Every hour of every day I am reminded of life, and that makes me happy.