My community is based in the township. You can feel the rhythm, the smoke in the atmosphere, the street vendors, the hooting of the taxis, the Somali shops around the corner and kids playing on the streets. As in any other township you can find those smoking guys going up and down along the streets and selling stolen materials. The worst everyday incident of my community is crime. People are being robbed and killed every day and yet we continue to stay in such circumstances as if nothing happened.
A neighbourhood is one important group that you belong to as a human being. It is where you were born and raised and you belong there. Being part of a neighbourhood means that you’re not isolated as a person because you grow amongst people whom you relate to as parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. Besides all the greatness of being part of a neighbourhood there is a dark side that comes with it, leading to fear, sorrow, danger and war.
Back in the days when I used to wake up at 6 am, prepare for school and leave the house at seven thirty to catch an early bus to school, I never thought that a cruel incident would ever happen to me on a cold winter morning. I would see incidents of shootings and robberies from a distance, but I never thought that one day I would actually see them close up.
On that cold winter morning I was heading to the bus stop to catch an early bus for school. It was a great experience to walk around the streets breathing the fresh air and feeling a bit cold while listening to heavy taxi hooters and gazing at people rushing to their different departure points.
I turned into the last street leading to the bus stop and a few minutes later whistles were bursting from behind me. I ignored them and minded my own business. While walking and wondering at the quietness of the street, I felt someone coming from behind. As I turned I felt a heavy klap and fell down. A few minutes later I realised I was being robbed and my belongings, like my pocket money and cellphone were gone. I tried to get up and run towards the bus stop because I had my bus ticket safe from my backpack.
I was still shocked about what had happened to me, but the only thing to do was to join the queue towards the bus. While waiting for the bus to arrive the flashback of the incident kept on coming in my mind. A few minutes later I heard gunshots and everyone kneeled down.
After the gunshots stopped I stood up, only to realise that an old women on the other side of the road was shot dead. It was the most painful thing I have ever seen. From that day I realised that I was not safe in my community. While people were screaming and walking towards her, I became fearful and confused whether to go to school with a broken heart, or go back home and tell everyone about the experience of my morning.
I feel unsafe and in danger in my community due to the rising number of crimes. Crime has been one social issue that my community faces on a daily basis and it brings a negative impact on the lives of people. People are not free in my community as they need to look over their backs while walking, as they’re fearing for their lives.