I was born and raised in a township called Orange Farm. I lived with my mom and 2 siblings. Growing up I was taught about the initiation of boys into manhood being practiced by the Basotho and the Xhosa culture.
As the years went by, things started to change, boys who went to the initiation school came back unruly. boys from all cultures including the Zulu and Sepedi culture now went to the initiation school even if it was against their culture. They committed crimes in the community without discretion because they had the belief that they’re untouchable and we as a community didn’t report them.
At this point, I had taken a vow to myself to study hard, pass my matric and get a bursary to get into university and take my family out of the township. In June 2013, rumours about boys being taken to the initiation school by force starting circulating in the area, I was disgusted by this fact because I believed everybody had the right to decide what to do with their lives and to have that right snatched from them didn’t seem right.
We had a two room house in which we all shared a bedroom. One Saturday night around 23:30 pm, we had all just gone to bed when I heard someone struggling with the door from the outside, then it stopped and I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and it was probably just the wind.
I closed my eyes, took deep breaths to try and calm myself down and go back to sleep but I heard someone struggle with the door again. Louder this time, it was like this person was trying to unlock the door without the use of a key. I stood up and tiptoed to my mom and shook her body to try and wake her up, I was very frightened.
I managed to wake her up without waking my siblings, my mom was just as scared as I was. By the time we started to make some movement, the door was thrown open which hit the wall and two boys who we knew from around the township. They were communicating in their own language which I couldn’t understand but then the other guy said “kuneNtwana kuledlala” which means there is a boy in this house, that is when I ran to my brother’s side and tried to hide him with my body, at this point, both my siblings were awake with fear written across their faces.
One of the boys grabbed me, threw me across the room and grabbed my brother, he then took a long look at him and said: “lentwana yincane kakhulu angeke ingene dah” to his friend, meaning my brother was too young and didn’t qualify to go to initiation school. They then threw him back on the bed and walked out of the house.
Going back to sleep was the hardest thing to do for my family and I. The next day we found out that two of the older boys in my street were forcefully taken to the initiation school, I thanked god my brother wasn’t one of them but I felt sorry for the other two families.
That year, I was doing grade 8 and since that day, I studied hard and last year I passed my matric with a bachelors pass and I am currently doing my first year at the university of Johannesburg. I’m still working hard for one thing only, to be able to take my family out of the township.