Anathi was looking all hog, with sloppy hair. There he was, sitting in the dining room while Shyne tried to assist him on his bended knee.

“Please – help me,” he said.

“What happened bra?” Shyne asked walking towards Anathi.

This year was horror in the neighbour of site B – Q Sec. One of the dangerous areas to monitor and construct a young gang in. Things tended to be intractable at times. The rate of crime, rape and drug abuse among young teens was at a high yet, taken its prosperity phase.

Shyne handed the glass of water to Anathi but he rejected.

Hayi, (No) boy, please help me.” Anathi said in pain.

“What happened bra?” Shyne asked, hoping for a reply this time around, as he helped Anathi up.

Eish!” Anathi cried slouching in a different position.

“Did you go to the clinic bra?” Shyne asked as he fiddled with his pocket looking for a phone.

“No, no, no.” Anathi protested getting off the chair, attempting to stop Shyne from calling the ambulance. “Don’t call anyone. Sit down!” he said pushing Shyne out of his way to sit down again.

“Bra, what’s going on?” Shyne asked sitting opposite Anathi. Anathi nervously looked through the window. He roughly scrolled in the window, closing the curtains. Then there were footsteps coming towards the door, followed by continuous knocking. Shyne got up while Anathi made his way to the main dining room to hide.

“Who is it?” Shyne opened the door.

When Shyne opened the door, he saw a large group of men holding weapons and all shouting and yelling at the same time. The horror and shock was evident on his face, he couldn’t find the words to ask what they wanted. An elderly man from the group spoke up.

“Is Anathi here?

“I…I… No, he’s not here.” Shyne lied. “He was here earlier, but left again. What did he do?”

The group of men accepted his reply and didn’t offer any answers to his question.

“You better be telling the truth my boy, otherwise you’ll be in for it.” Some of those people demanded to enter the house, but the elders wouldn’t allow that to happen. They turned and left the way they came followed by a crowd of locals.

“Are they gone?” Anathi slowly entered the main room as Shyne closed the front door.

“Hey bra, what did you do? If you don’t want to tell me, I’ll call Tata Mongi. You’ve already placed me in more trouble than I want to be in. What’s going on? Are you going to talk or what?”

Anathi pointed to the chair for him to sit down. “Sit. Boy, you’ll have to keep this to yourself. Am I clear?”

He sat down to pay attention as he watched Anathi shivering with cold.

“Siya is the eldest gang member here in the township, very dangerous, hard to control. He has a brother, Luthando, who recently arrived from the villages. He’s a very wise boy, doing his standard nine. The boy didn’t know anyone here when he first arrived. After he arrived he met and befriended Noluthando. They both attended the same school, near the neighbourhood, just twenty kilometres away from home.

“One day while walking home alone, Uncle P called him over and told Luthando to never step in his yard ever again. But Luthando had no idea what Uncle P was talking about. He was so scared that he turned and ran home with Uncle P shouting at him as he ran. The thing is Luthando wasn’t the one who stole Uncle P’s chickens it was me. The next day I sold the chickens because I was too scared of getting caught with them.

“I’ve been stealing chickens for the past two months now because I was starving. Since my mother threw me out after I stole and sold her necklace, I had to find a way of feeding myself. I built my own little shack in the back of our yard and stole and sold chickens to make money. She used to say, ‘Ndakuxelele (I’m telling you), one day is one day my boy. The whole community will be hunting you down. You don’t want to stop your mindless behaviour.’

“My mother had tried to find work for me, but I didn’t last a week. The habit of stealing is in my blood. My girlfriend warned me to stop stealing after a boy that looked like me was badly beaten by community members for theft. After that I stopped stealing Uncle P’s chickens.”

“What happened next?” Shyne asked.

“I dropped out of school because my gang and our rivals were constantly at war.”

“I’m confused. Are you telling me that you got beaten up by gang members? I still have to go to the gym, bra. Tell me what really happened.”

“These wounds are from the fight that took place on the bridge last night. One of the boy was killed by my crew, he got a brick on his head, which gave us a gap to finish him off. It was the perfect opportunity to prove myself, so I delivered the fatal blow. Afterwards I ran home, but when I arrived there I realised that I had lost my key. So, I ran back to the bridge and searched around to see if I could find it. While I was hunched over in the road, Tata Mongi came along, saw the body and chased me. I ran as fast as I could and disappeared through the shacks before he could catch me.”

Then there was a knock at the door again and Shyne went to see who it is. It was Uncle P and five other young men carrying guns.

Ja boy.” Uncle P said pushing past Shyne and entering the front room.

“What’s going on Uncle P? You can’t just come in like this.”

“Who told you so?”

Shyne didn’t know how to reply but he saw that Anathi wasn’t in the front room anymore.

“Tell your friend, he’s a dead man.” He said and turned and left with his coons on his trail.

“Sorry man.” Anathi said as he peeked around the wall separating the kitchen from the front room.

“I can see you haven’t told me the full story, even TaMax is looking for you.”

“Okay, I’m getting there!” Shyne continued. “I hid under the bridge for the next three days because I knew what the people of the community would do to me once they found me. Eventually I went home because I was too tired and hungry. When I got home I saw that my mother had left for work already, but my sister was still there. I waited for her to leave for school and when she did, I broke the kitchen window to get in.

“I ate like a homeless person, not wasting a crumb because I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. Afterwards I went to go lie on my sister’s bed, but I fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of the front door opening, it was my sister. I’d been having a nightmare before she came, I was still shaking at the thought of it. I realised then that I had slept through the rest of the morning into early afternoon. I hid behind the bedroom door as she entered but she saw me and screamed. Before she had a chance to alarm the neighbours I put my hand over her mouth. I had no intentions of hurting her, understand me, I just wanted her to shut up.

“Eventually when she calmed down and I went to wash my face, but the police sirens caught my attention. I looked out of the window and saw two police officers escorting a handcuffed Uncle P in the back of a police van. I quickly got dressed and went outside to find out what this was all about. I heard my neighbours saying that he was arrested for Luthando’s murder, the boy that everyone said looked so much like me. Luthando was beaten to death by the locals and Uncle P had initiated the entire event which led to the tragic death of the teenager.

“Luthando’s girlfriend, Noluthando, stood there crying as she looked on to what was happening. I noticed the big bump on her tummy and realised that she was pregnant. I felt guilty because the wrong person had died. Mr P went looking for me and found Luthando instead. I had only been asleep for half the day, how could they have killed him in such a short time, I wondered to myself. The police questioned the crowd but mostly suspected TaMax and Uncle P for the mob’s actions. TaMax was a friend of the guy who my gang and I killed the night before. I stood at the back of the crowd hoping no one saw me. That’s when I decided to come hide at your house.”

“That’s hectic, bra.”

Then they heard a knock on the door again. Shyne was already getting irritated by the constant interruptions. He got up and opened the door with the intention of letting whoever it was on the other side have it. When he opened the door two police officers stood at his door. He asked them what they wanted, they showed him a picture of Anathi and inquired if he knew his whereabouts. Shyne lied and said no then the officers left.

Shyne had not realised that Anathi’s wounds were serous when he arrived there. After the officers left, he went back to go finish the conversation he and Anathi were having. Shyne wanted Anathi to get to the point so that he could figure out how best to assist him. When he returned, he found Anathi pale and breathing heavily.

“Bra, are you okay?”

“I don’t feel so good. Is it me or is your house cold all of a sudden?”

“It’s hot outside, you can’t be feeling cold. That was the police I’ll go call them back to help.”

“No don’t, I’m dying, sorry my friend. Do I a favour please? When I’m gone, tell my mother that I’m sorry and that she should try and help Noluthando with her child when the child is born. Tell her the truth about me.”

Anathi struggled to breathe while Shyne paced up and down frantically. Just when Shyne made his mind up to run after the police officers, Anathi blew out is last breath.

***

Tell us what you think: What do you think of mob justice?