Quiet, boring and unapproachable are not the adjectives I’d use to describe her. Loud, full of life and the place to be when you need a taste of the ‘kasi township life is how I see her. Mamelodi west-side is her name. My hood, my home!

She beams by day with untapped potential, countless teenagers on their way to school straightening out their uniform, some strolling somewhat demonstrating half-hearted willingness to attend today to businesses on every corner from amagwinya/fat cakes, packet chips, shebeens and everything in between.

She carries many I have spoken to with great dreams and countless aspirations, but some that will remain just that. In all her beauty and fun still she carries a dark side that most are aware of. There are those around her that are too fearful to see this side uncertain if they’d become victim to her darkness.

By night many roam the streets looking to taint her reputation with their dark intentions, turning our dear Mamelodi into a zone filled with lions on the prey for victims. Stories come to light of young men bringing harm to old ladies merely to get a hold of a purse filled with hard earned money; stories of woman abused, houses broken into, businesses burgled and dreams shattered.

I too have experienced her dark side and fallen victim. After the experience I was left confused at how this place I call my home… my hood… a sanctuary. Why would people I see on a daily basis would do such ills? You think you know all there is to be known about our dear Mamelodi, but evidence clearly points to otherwise. She has turned around like a disloyal dog and bit the hand of the very person that has lived honestly to have her flag flown high as a clear sign that not all of us who come from her fit the negative stereotype that many out there perceive!

My home by night has become a prison because of the repetitive and multiple burglaries, the trespassing and disregard for our safe haven, all by a nameless, faceless individual or a group of our own people.

The funny thing is you never know who they are. They might be the guys that greet you on a daily basis or your neighbour, it could be anyone. So one tends to live in isolation fearing to be made a fool of by people that laugh with you by day and betray you by night.

Who does one turn to? The obvious choice are the brave men and women of our South African Police Service who are trained for this… Right? But with countless cases reported each day and numerous suspects to look for, it all turns into a waiting game… a frustrating game… a frustrating wait that will test one’s patience. Honestly my family and I do not know if we will ever see our belongings again or whether justice will be served but for now we fall into the hands of the system and cannot do things outside of it.

In hindsight I’ve come to realise that the good will always outweigh the bad. That the small group that consistently taint her shouldn’t describe her.

The good, the pleasant memories, the home-grown talent and potential that rides in her is greater and will forever be praised and admired above all of her evils.