Khayelitsha can be an amazing community, until danger kicks in. You always have to live in fear of not knowing what might happen and when. I’ve lived in Khayelitsha for as long as I can remember but I can’t say spending my life years there has been so blissful and joyful. Happiness is a feeling of a single second, and fear is a feeling of a full lifetime. There is literally no life in Cape Town.
I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was at night, we were in the dining area at home, eating supper as a family. The next thing we heard were running footsteps on top of our roof, I remember my cousin going out to see what was happening. Just after he opened the door we heard gunshots being fired, I saw my cousin going down on his knees, and blood coming out of his mouth. It was a disturbing moment for me and that was the end of my cousin’s life.
That day traumatized me for life. I don’t understand why he died at such an early age, he was so young and full of life. He was always bubbly and vibrant, and lived a clean life. He was my daily source of motivation. Each day before I went to school he would motivate me. He would make me look forward to the day. I hate the smell of freshly fired fire sticks – actually I hate the smell of fire itself. Fire is what I smelled when my cousin died.
No justice was served. We tried to get justice for our blood, but Cape Town stations are corrupt. We went to the police station the following day to report this matter. Two ladies were being attended to by the detective himself. We went to him, and said we were there to report a crime. He said we were disturbing him, and that we should wait for our turn. That was no problem, everyone has to wait their turn, but what made me lose my mind was that we waited for more than an hour, while we heard laughter coming from another room in the station. I am definitely sure that that was the other police officer’s laughter – a station can never have only one person on duty.
Finally, after much waiting, the detective attended to us. We told him what happened the previous day, you should have seen the way he was acting. He was so full of himself, he seemed to know what we were reporting and was totally uninterested in it. His voice was full of irritation. He promised to come to our house, but I saw in his eyes he was never going to do that.
I went back home in a critical state. My heart was beyond broken, it was shattered into small pieces. I knew that the detective wouldn’t come, that he might somehow be involved in this gangsterism thing, he might be the inside man. Corruption is everywhere nowadays. I thought such things only existed in fantasy and on television, until it happened to us.
The sense of belonging in my community vanished into thin air. I felt unsafe in my own community, I felt like we were foreigners in a foreign country. I grew hatred for my own community. I now resent Cape Town.