Dawn Park is my genesis and it is the only ‘hood’ I have ever known. It is where I continue to flourish. Like any home, my values, virtues and beliefs originate from Dawn Park. My “hood” is my being. It is where I escape to, whenever I need to catch my breath and find some relief from life’s conflictual moments.

It was my brother’s turn to cook, but he was nowhere to be found. Night had fallen and by then my mother had started raging with fury like a bull. When this happened, I suspected that one of my brother’s drunk episodes would follow … And indeed, he arrived drunk.

He stepped inside clumsily, fumbled his greeting, and stumbled to his room like a headless chicken. As he passed by he left behind a strong stench of alcohol, one that could have crippled a dog’s nasal senses.

I stood up from the sofa, having lost my appetite to the stench. As I walked down the passage leading to my room, I witnessed what seemed like a war that had taken place between his bedroom and the bathroom situated directly opposite. It was a war of blood-like vomit which flooded the bathroom. This repugnant mess caused so much tension that I decided to call it a night, and went straight to bed.

My first order of duty the following morning was to evacuate the house before it turned into WW3, as I knew that my parents were going to give my brother a stern teaching, and possibly a punishment over the nuclear bomb he had dropped on us the previous night.

Finally outside, I took a walk to clear my mind. The morning breeze of April was cold. I turned into Bauhinia Street where my primary school was. Its fences were suffocating with little space to breathe as they were covered with Chris Hani posters from top to bottom. One particular poster caught my attention, with the words, ‘What we need in South Africa is for egos to be suppressed in favour of peace.’ Underneath that was another that read, ‘If you want peace then you must struggle …’

The sun had reached its midday peak and it was scorching hot. I decided to take a detour past my church. As I approached the church, to my left, was a dead rat that had been run over. It reeked of deterioration that reminded me of the previous night. Its intestines were rotten… it was lifeless. At that moment I thought of my brother; death from kidney failure due to alcohol poisoning.

At the gates of my church I received my daily bible verse from my phone. It read, ‘By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches – Proverbs 24:3-4.’

Having then rounded my hood, I walked into Nyala Street feeling a sense of understanding; I understood that the young mind continues to live in struggle, in an attempt to acquire that true sense of peace. I understood that the young generation, my generation, needed the wisdom that would help us conquer the struggle peacefully. I understood Chris Hani’s words and I embraced the potential teaching that my ‘hood’ had to offer… to a willing mind.

With a deep warmth and calm within my heart as I entered my place of living, I remembered that Dawn Park was my Heart and my Home.