Tandem Post: That One Time…

Gunshots fired. The neighbourhood is in fear even as the silence of the night envelopes it once more.

A loud fearful voice commands “Iemand bel ‘ie ambulance!” A large crowd surrounds a body drenched in blood. they watch him writhe in pain until the last. Waiting for the ambulance. It’s too late.

“Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound…” The buriel is a sad one. “Ashes to ashes…” The voice of the priest is drowned in the loud sobs of a mother who’s lost her son. Gone too soon. And what for?

“My broe djy is dai ou!” His friends applaud him. “Djy’t dai frans afgehaal!” They’re drinking and plotting their next ‘HIT’. His bullet was the one to put the nail in the coffer. Where is the joy?

Newspaper clipping:

Another fatality on the Cape Flats. During a gangfight on Saturday night, an innocent 16 year old boy was caught in the crossfire and died on the scene.

‘What have I done?’ He asks himself. That boy was only 16 years old. He didn’t belong to the rival gang. He wasn’t even a gangster.

There’s always a witness… Always a ‘friend’ who stabs you in the back. What do they call it. It’s immunity or something like that.

“The defendant is found guilty of murder. He is sentenced to 25 years.” The magistrate reads the sentence. A loud sob followed by “Nee! Issie my kind ‘ie. Hy het ‘it ‘ie gedoen ‘ie!”

Nineteen years old and in prison. He looks around and sees the hungry stares of the seasoned inmates. He’s the flavour of the day. They laugh and give him knowing stares. “Djy!” A heavily tattooed guy shouts at him. “Djy’s nou my bitch. Kom hiesa!” He’s forcefully led to his now keeper. ‘Here help my.’ He pleads to God as the tears stream down his face.

He thinks about that one time. That one time he thought …

    It would be cool to join a gang.

    The many friends he would have.

    The girls that would want him.

    The money he would have.

    The notoriety he would enjoy.

    That one time he thought he was invincible.

    Never once did he think about the dark reality he may one day face.

Sitting in her home his mother is also thinking about that one time.

The one time…

    She noticed her son was keeping bad company.

    As concerned neighbours pleaded with her to keep her son away from ‘those other kids’ and she ignored them. ‘Not MY child’ she thought then.

A few blocks away a grieving mother sits and thinks about that one time too.

The one time…

    She sent her son to the shop after dark and he never returned.

The story published is fictional but gangsterism is real. Too many kids caught in the unreal glitz of a life of crime has in store. Many of the fatalities are innocents caught in the crossfire. Who is to blame for it all? The kids, gangsters who recruit them or their parents? Can it be our own neighbourhood that choose to turn a blind eye when we see kids straying off the path? Question I’ve asked myself many times as I see what happens in our community.

This was part of a tandem series where 3 bloggers and 1 title collide. For Chevonne’s story click here and Shelley’s story click here


4 thoughts on “Tandem Post: That One Time…

  1. A really powerful piece, Celestial. Gangsterism is a real thing and should not be glamourised at all. There is no glitz in all that brutally. So many innocent lives have been lost in the crossfire that is the Cape Flats (and many other regions). Our harsh reality…humanity is fragile in its struggle for power.


    • I actually choked up while I was typing this. Seeing kids through away their lives and parents enabling them to is becoming the norm. Sadly it’s a reality for so many people and the kids don’t know better. Two weeks ago a young boy was killed around the corner from where I live! I’m sure I probably assumed the gun shots to be cars back firing because that’s the norm around here.

      Our youth are troubled and easily misdirected by the wrong influences.


  2. Celeste, this is today’s reality. I remember some time ago someone saw a copy of the Daily Voice on a colleague’s desk, and he could not believe the stories of violence, the images, etc. He could not understand why these murders aren’t making it to the National Papers…in silence communities suffer at the hands of their neighbours and their children. BUT, it is in the communities power to take back control.

    Thank you for writing this!


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