The Greatest stories are told best with those sad anecdotes in-between them, you have heard it narrated but, what you haven’t heard is me telling it exactly the way it happened to me. Has a snowball a chance in hell? Well we will find out soon enough.

My name is not of consequence right now, the picture I am trying to paint here though will tell you who I am. Do not judge a book by its cover; I understand these words very careful and concise. I was raised by a single parent understanding the struggles of not getting the luxuries we as children fantasize about. Nonetheless, my mother was tried by all means. Growing up in the greedy streets of Samora Machel, in the Cape Flats you observe everything that is happens around you.

My story began when I first held a gun in my hand. The day was dark and cloudy on a winters Friday mid-June 2007. The strange clouds that were not known to me became more familiar at some point. I was on my way home from school with my sister, I was doing grade 7, when one of the guys from the hood, one of those who quit school when they started smoking, thought it would be cool to discourage us.

This young fellow asked a 50cents of me (‘Ola give me a five bob’) then there were three of them, they laughed and one of them put his cigarette burnt index finger in my sister’s brow and asked “iyafunda lento”-does this thing go to school.

I was very furious at the way he pushed my sister with his dirty index finger, I stepped in between them and defended my sister then we ran to home. My mother’s boyfriend had left his gun under my bed where I put my school shoes, I felt the firearm and fury grew inside me. I went back to where the little thugs were, luckily they saw the weapon and fled, that’s how I earned some respect on the streets. That power grew in me I became hungry for more but contained myself, until it burst out when I was starting high school. I became just like those little thugs I hated simply because circumstances led me there. Back then I had two lives, there was this rogue ninja version of me -the one doing all these bad things carrying guns doing arm robberies.

Trust me, I made a name for myself. They called me Russia because they presumed that I had useful knowledge about fire arms. Then there was the scholar, the academically hungry part of me. Until one teacher named Miss Masebeni, saw potential in my writing, poetry and academics generally. She’s the one who opened my eyes and kept giving me books to read. The library then became a familiar place to me, I chased father figures from the likes of Dumbledore from J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter, Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I became friends with many authors without knowing or having met them personally. I was inspired by my English teacher Miss Masebeni, by the books I read and continued to motivate myself and others. Today I am a writer, a poet and an essayist. I believe that; “if the infinite had not desired for mankind to be wise, he would not have bestow upon him the faculty of knowledge.”

I am inspired by the ancient sages like Leonardo Da Vinci, thanks to my English teacher who opened my eyes and urge me to read for her. I have learned that, readers are leaders. My name is Lubabalo meaning Grace and a snowball that has no chance in hell-fire melts eyes, however if you are wise enough you will know that water vanquish fire.

I say to you, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

You do not know what is written inside and eyes can be deceiving. The mind is easy to be tricked, the greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinion. Do not make opinions on what you think a person is like, get to know the person before you judge.