I spent my first years in a hood called Newlands West. I lived there from birth until grade one. I was young but even my young eyes could see that it was every man for himself in my hood. Drugs were all over the place, drug dealers sold them in the open. You’d swear they were selling candy. Gunshots were so common they sounded like music to people’s ears.

I remember everything I saw in Newlands West. But I remember one thing more than anything else: The day my uncle got shot for his watch. Everyone just stood around his body, watching him die. He was cold when I touched him, his blood smelled like strawberries. By the time my mother arrived on the scene it was too late, my uncle was gone.

Everything fun stopped that day. The trips to the malls and going out were all gone with my uncle. Since that day I never go a day without thinking of the saying, ‘When days are dark friends are few’. None of his friends came to the graveyard, because they had ‘plans’.

The day after we buried my uncle we had to move. I left a place that smells like a rose but had too many thorns. The thorns were all the thugs in Newlands West. We moved to Chatsworth. Chatsworth is not a nice place because you make enemies very fast here before you make any friends. My first crush was also my enemy’s crush but I was in grade one so I didn’t care. This has been my home since then. Home is always home.