Pick-A-Day

September 2021
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Un-Shoed

I cannot tell you the first time I noticed it, but at some point whilst CQ and I were still based in Cape Town I realized that a lot of kids were going barefoot.

And the kids going barefoot did not look like kids from poor families: their attire and their family’s attire was middle-class and the locations—say eating lunch at Wimpy along the highway—imply that the families could certainly afford shoes.

Our last evening, in Jo’burg, we were fortunate enough to have dinner with a local who illuminated us to many of the local customs and explain what we were seeing. I asked her about the shoes—and she informed me that it is “cool” to not wear shoes—even at university.

Although I often try to partake of local customs, I didn’t.

4 comments to Un-Shoed

  • disenchanted

    Now *there’s* a custom I could have supported. 🙂 When I was a kid, we used to go everywhere barefoot including the grocery store. In the cities. And yes, we were solidly middle class. Of course, the South was much more relaxed then.

  • To me going barefoot is purely situational. In a rural area, probably ok. At a rest area next to a national highway, probably not. In a mall–no, but then again I am used to “no shirt, no shoes, no service.”

  • I certainly wouldn’t have walked barefoot into that oddly named bookstore we encountered. You never know what you might step in there.

  • eeek! that might have been the worst place to go barefoot, even if it was in a mall!