My heart was heavy when I woke up from the nightmare that nothing but death would free me. Jerome, the gang leader from the Slaughters, wanted to do things I didn’t feel comfortable doing in public. I just didn’t know how to react because he said if I don’t become him girlfriend my mother would be in the list of deceased, so I went along with every game he played.

It was damn frustrating knowing something when there is nothing you can do to help anyone, because the threats would fall upon you. I am Lindiwe from the neighborhood next door and I have been living on a pray in this place. Crime is at its peak, it’s not to be compared to any other thing. I would say Jozi knows nothing about crime and Khayelisha in Cape Town; their gangs are nothing compared to the state of our community gangs here.

I feared all my life in this place and my hopes were lost when I lost my father. I remember that day very clearly. Me and my mom were sitting at the dining table when a call came from the police stating that my mom has to go to the station immediately. For a second I was so lost as to why my mom would be called to the station. “Mom, I’m coming with you”, I called out as I rushed off to the door to catch up with her. We took my mom’s car and drove off.

She looked so stressed because it was during the night and it was the time for the hits; when gangs are searching for their next prey. I wonder how they live their lives as scavengers, maybe something went wrong in their DNA. All their thinking is crime, it runs in their bloodstream. I was overcome by thoughts as we arrived at the station. We were so anxious to hear what we were called for, but instead we were told to follow one of the police officers. I asked the officer as to why my mother was called, but my mother stared at me as if what I was doing was wrong. To my dismay the police officer was also lost in his own world, and didn’t pay attention to what I was saying, so I shrugged it off.

He took us to the mortuary and he said: “Can you please identify the body because the last number that called him was yours”. After saying that he opened one of the freezers and opened the bag. Horror came over me as I recognized the face to be my fathers. I gasped as fear took over me and I wondered why my mom looked like she was hiding herself from me. When I looked at her, she had no emotions as she had to be strong for me. My father’s face was not what I expected to see, probably someone else, not the man who protected me from the cruelty of this world. There was nothing we could do because I bet these police are part of the gangs as the gangs have eyes and cameras everywhere. We all lived in fear as every move you make is traced. Even for those who work for the gang, if anything goes wrong, the grave awaits them. As for me and my mother we have to just live and let my father rest in peace.