A Television Memory – By Ijumaa Stephenson

When I was a child I lived in the city of Gaborone, Botswana, which is a country in Africa. I lived with my mother, who enjoyed watching movies of an evening, either on DVD or a movie channel. Television in my house played a big part in my childhood. I remember growing up playing Nintendo 64 with my Dad, which was what TV in our home was mainly used for.

Television usage took place in a relaxed room, the TV sat on a coffee table, which had a table cloth over it. On top of the TV sat one of those old-style portable antennas, ‘Rabbit Ears’ I think they were referred to as. There was never more than one TV in the house, and it was always in the living room. I remember sitting with mum or dad, maybe both, all cuddled up watching a movie. My mum never played video games, so dad and I would sit on the floor versing each other in ‘James Bond 007: GoldenEye’ or ‘Mario Kart.’

I misbehaved a lot when it concerned gaming, I would rage quit and throw my controller down if I lost. The fighting game, ‘Tekken 2’ on PlayStation 1, is a game which caused me a lot of rages, I got in trouble many times for my conduct. I got so upset with loosing, that I deliberately scratched the game disc, wow!

Later in life, after my parents split up, my experience of TV changed quite a bit. When I was with my dad, we were usually travelling so I was often out playing in nature and living a pretty sweet van life. When we weren’t in Botswana we would stay at hotels where we would watch a movie. When I was with my mum, she was in a house, living near where she worked. With mum, it was a pretty typical style of living and therefore TV watching, however, I did still play outdoors more than watch TV. The TV had never really been a large part of my life, it was periphery, in fact now that I think about it, most movies were watched by way of DVD in a laptop, while a TV was used for gaming.

A moment of TV that particularly stands out in my memory is when I was quite small, living in Australia. I remember waking up earlier than mum and dad, I turned on the television and found The Simpsons. I liked it because I thought it was just a cartoon, but I was never allowed to watch it. So, when dad woke up, he saw me watching the show and chuckled as he asked, “What are you doing watching the Simpsons?” and proceeded to change the channel to the news. The news was reporting a bush fire, later that day we saw a fire in town and I asked if it was the same fire that had been on TV.  Through that news item, I can see the impact it had on my mind, as I used it as a reference point.

I suppose all this is of interest because TV or lack-there-of is intertwined with my growing up process, in some way media had been involved in my learning, I played PC games at a young age and I did educational activities on a laptop. I have had a good balance of media to real-world in my childhood, which I tend to think is important, a balance that is, too much of any one thing can yield a toxic result.

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