Thulani looked out of the bus window at the grass, which was green and fresh. It smelled like a new start. Thulani had been on drugs and came to Site C for a fresh start. He wanted to start living a better life.

After arriving in Site C, Thulani went to his aunt’s house, where his mother stayed, and found out that his mother had arranged with his aunt for him to stay there for the year. He settled in but before he could make himself comfortable, his mother sent him to the nearby shop to buy a bunch of onions. When he arrived at the shop, Thulani saw a group of boys smoking ‘Wonga’ outside the shop. He remembered the smell and taste of it because he had used it too. He told himself to stay strong, he didn’t want to go back to his old ways or relapse.

He bought the onions, but as he went out the door, a tall black man grabbed him by his jacket and told him to come with him. Thulani wasn’t sure whether the man was serious or not, but followed him anyway. The man offered him the ‘Wonga’ pipe and told him to have a smoke. Thulani hesitated, then declined. The man then told him he knew that Thulani was new to the area and that he had a job offer for him. Thulani politely asked the stranger what kind of job he was talking about. This man then proceeded to tell him that they stole cars and dealt in drugs for a living, that if Thulani was interested he could always find him at that shop. Thulani gave him thanks for the offer and went back home.

That night he couldn’t sleep, his aunt had been complaining about the shortage of food in the house and that Thulani ate too much for someone who hadn’t contributed towards it. She called him a “useless drug addict”. He made up his mind to accept the stranger’s offer, who he had come to find out was named Makoya. The next morning Thulani woke up early, to avoid his aunt, and went to Makoya at the shop. He told him that he was willing to do the job, which made Makoya happy because he was always short on men to do that kind of work.

Makoya gave Thulani ten thousand rand as a start-up payment for the work he had to do. Thulani had never seen so much money in his life. He then started to buy groceries and whatever was needed around the house. When his aunt asked him where he got the money to buy food, he told her that a man shouldn’t be asked about his means to provide.

Makoya then arranged for a gun for Thulani, he said that it was a necessity for the job. His first heist had already been planned. Makoya drove Thulani and a group of other guys to the house where they were going to steal the car from. He told them that they were going to break into the house, get the car, but Thulani wasn’t going with, he had to be on the lookout for any trouble. Makoya told him that if anyone came to him asking what he was doing there, he had to use the gun.

While Makoya and the other guys were inside, attempting to switch off the alarm, Thulani sat in the car shivering out of nervousness. He thought about all the things his mother had told him and how she praised him for being such a good son. His mother had told him that he shouldn’t allow the city or its people to change him and he didn’t want to disappoint her. It was that thought that made him get out of the car and run home.

When he arrived at his aunt’s house, he went to his room and hid under the bed. Later that evening, while still under his bed, Thulani heard a loud knock on the door, it was Makoya and his gang. He heard them asking his aunt where he was and her whisper in reply. When he got out from under the bed to lock his bedroom door, they were already in his room. Makoya told him that there was a heavy price Thulani had to pay for his betrayal. He held Thulani’s aunt next to him, then Thulani knew what he meant. Thulani told him that he should kill him than rape his aunt. But Makoya replied by telling him that there would be no fun in that.

As he pushed Thulani’s aunt against his bedroom table and untying his pants for the act, Thulani grabbed the baseball bat next to his bed and hit him hard over his head. Makoya toppled to the floor while the rest of his gang looked on in disbelief. Thulani then grabbed his mother and aunt and headed to the taxi rank. They got an a taxi, not knowing where it was going, but hoping that it took them far away from there because he still had Makoya’s money, which would allow them to have a new start somewhere else.


Tell us what you think: Have you ever made bad decisions because of the situation you were in? What happened?