He once warned me about the impending predicaments of which I have already been through. He advised me in many instances and in many I resorted to being ignorant – not knowing what lay ahead of me and finally bearing witness at the end.

Anathi yelled at me once. It was the day I did not do my homework and pretended not to care. He had me beaten up. In fact, being hurt was the only language I understood. It was very clear at times and I seemed to enjoy it. Anathi warned me to stay away from foul friends. Those who brought nothing but stereotypical thinking and modern ideologies into my life.

He told me to stay away from wicked chicks. Those who were capable of draining my bank account until it reflected a negative amount; an overdraft! Those who were capable of showing me new and addictive things in bed. Them with pierced tongues and noses – the very masters of sexual engineering.

Anathi assumed the worst of my newly profound anarchy behaviour. With his soprano voice, he warned me to stay away from alcohol and smoking. Fearing the dangers that lay ahead. Fearing the chronicles of all those who were infected by HIV/AIDS; those who contracted it while partying. Fearing for my life, he immediately took me to rehabilitation.

I sometimes hated Anathi. He made me miss the most important stages of my life. Although sometimes I didn’t listen to him, nonetheless I learnt very valuable lessons. Like the time he told me not to go out at night and return home drunk. Meters before I could get home, I saw a lady getting raped. I stood there still and did nothing. She was screaming so loudly but nobody came to her rescue. She later died as the rapist stabbed her in the neck seven times.

She was likely somebody’s mother or sister. She may have been somebody’s girlfriend or wife. But there I was, watching as that tall guy ravished her. Fearing to intervene, I resorted to stand still and do nothing. A very weak thing that was expected from a man who just returned from the mountain! I was an utter disgrace and an insult to my tradition and all that I was taught on the mountain. It became worse when the police took my statement and reminded me of how pathetic I was.

The incident still haunts me today, whenever I think of it. I remember that Anathi warned me. I remember his serious face. I remember his soprano voice and his finger pointing at me.

I am in jail now, serving two years for lying in court. Anathi advised me to get a lawyer and plead not-guilty for not intervening as I was drunk and feared that the man could have had a dangerous weapon. Being a smart-ass I thought I was, I did the opposite.

Every time they close my cell and I have to face Nongoloza’s dick, it all comes back: watching a woman being raped and stabbed to death. I think of Anathi and all his advice. I remember him telling me that prison was not for small boys like me. Here I am now, being another man’s bitch! Getting molested every fucking day.

If only I listened to my conscience and did as it advised me. If only I knew the outcomes of going out that night, I swear I wouldn’t be here. But my guardian angel Anathi warned me…