Brothers ought to guide, protect and love each other as family. But in crime, there are
good and bad endings. The saying is “Blood is thicker than water”. As a little boy, i
remember my mom telling me that crime doesn’t pay – you only end up in jail.

Soweto, the biggest town in Johannesburg, a different township with different people.
Alexandra, my township that others call ‘kasi lami’. I was just a little boy when my father
and my mother broke their vows. After a month, she started to get sick. Her sickness got
even worse and she decided to go to the doctor. The doctor took blood samples to be
checked for any diseases.

Three weeks later, the results came back. An envelope that wasn’t yet opened. She started
at the envelope, refusing to open it, but after time went by she opened the envelope.
Looking at the results, tears ran down her face. The results were positive. January,
summertime with beautiful butterflies flapping their wings, birds singing sweet sounds.
Summer, the hottest season around the globe. January, the time for back to school, where
parents and guardians are buying stationery for their kids.

It was back to school for others but i, Kenny Magudulela, it was a rough time for me
because i didn’t know who would stay and look after my mother while i was at school.
She took her medication secretively, didn’t want to let her son know. Every night i could
hear her crying when i passed by her room.

I made a friend at school, and we became friends until high school. Just when we were
about to start our second year in high school, my mother passed away. I suddenly went on
a search for my father to help with the burial of my mom. What broke my heart was
finding my father with another woman. I was heartbroken and had not even had a single
cent from his pocket.

The next morning, the relatives came and they assisted with the burial money issues. They
took the little they had to bury their beloved daughter. The family decided that the burial
would be on Saturday, and the house filled with neighbors and relatives helping out here
and there. I was 16 years old when my mother passed away, and seven years old when my
parents divorced. In the kitchen there were neighbors who loved to gossip. I decided to
drink cold water from the fridge, but when i approached the kitchen, i could hear that
they were gossiping about my parents. I heard every nasty comment they made about my
mother. I entered the kitchen and burst into flames for they were busy gossiping.

Saturday came, the hardest day of my life. I had to bury my mother before i even became
successful. At the burial site, i only reminded myself about the good moments. After the
burial the only thing that was on my mind was how i was going to eat and doing crime
seemed a good idea. I started using drugs to forget what had happened.

Two weeks later, the fridge was empty. The house was quite because i had to sell the
furniture in order to get money. I realised that crime was the only way, so i started
robbing old ladies, stealing bags, and home breaking. It all seemed to be going smoothly
but i didn’t think i would end up in the hospital.

The plan was drawn: We were going to break in to a cop’s house while the cop was at
work. We initiated the plan into action. We got to the house and it seemed to have alarms,
along with cameras. We got inside the house, took what we were supposed to take and
then a problem came out of nowhere.

When we turned to leave, the cop was waiting and pointing his guns at my fellow
friends. It became a do or die situation when we were held at gunpoint. The cop called for
backup and i was shocked so i shot him three times so we could make an escape. The
whole neighborhood heard gunshots and came out. I forget what i was supposed to take
and i went out on a few running sprints while they went out of the back door. Before the
three of them made their get-away, i went over the fence and the neighborhood came up to
me. They didn’t ask any questions, they just started to beat me up. Rocks, Sjamboks, they all
had different weapons and they beat me until i was unconscious.

The next thing i knew, i was in the hospital, hooked to drips and machines. There i gave
up on a life of crime.