When we were kids we played "toktokkie", which was naughty, but not destructive.
A gang of kids in our neighbourhood used to knock on people’s door (preferably at night when they had gone to sleep) and ring the doorbell or knock, wake them up, hide in the bushes watching, wail with laughter, and do it again until the homeowner was so furious we knew it was time to go to the next house.
I will admit the worst we did was throw some stones onto roofs that made a racket sufficient to be a real disturbance to the residents.
But, and here is a big but, we did not destroy anything or cause more trouble than annoyance.
Ours was mischief with no devious intentions.
Allegedly the 50 fires Knysna has had in the last week have been caused by children deliberately lighting them, for the delight of seeing the fire and also to see and feel the water being doused from Working on Fire (WoF) choppers.
Exciting this may be, but as authorities warn, these children could be decapitated by the full force of a water bomb.
This is not to mention the huge, huge expenses incurred in putting needless fires out and precious water squandered, but also the fact that it is downright bloody naughty.
The Knysna community have been asked to watch out for anybody lighting fires or even looking like they may be "newborn" arsonists.
Parents, if you even so much as think these could be your children, they need a damned good hiding (smack on the bottom with a wooden spoon), even if this is not politically correct – and you need to explain the devastating ramifications of their actions.
It is up to adults in the community and parents to deal with children.
Boredom is not warranted or cured by burning the town down. BY ELAINE KING