Sipho was now but a very different boy. When he hurt he cried. He wasn’t rough and he wasn’t tough; he was sophisticated and gentle. He was afraid of snakes, rats and dogs. He loved cats because they were not unnecessarily violent like dogs.

He loved his books and was getting good grades at school. He didn’t play soccer, rugby or any other sport. He wasn`t the sporty type, academics were his main focus. He wanted to be a lawyer and fight for human rights.

“Many people don’t know their rights and criminals go up and down our streets scot free laughing at their victims,” he once said to his Life Orientation teacher.

At the age of thirteen most of his friends were girls. Sipho enjoyed their company and their harmless games but above all, their determination to make it in life. They just painted the world with so much beauty and gentleness.

Their voices were sweet and innocent, and their eyes were deep calm oceans that swayed nonchalantly with the scenery of violence carried out in the location. He admired them for their positivity and goodwill. They just were not like boys.

The boys in the streets of Kimberly were young ruffians who dreamt of murder and rape. Their greatest aspiration was making it big in the world of gangs and knives. Their young minds were controlled by a demon that painted scenes of violence so beautifully that they wanted to make real violence every day.

Week in – week out, young blood was shed. On weekends the cemetery was overflowing mourners, more especially parents burying their sons and daughters.

“It’s disheartening,” one old lady said during a funeral service of her daughter who had been slaughtered and raped. “These kids, so young and tender, we bury with these frail hands of ours. I wonder who will put us to rest when they all die now. It’s as if they’re competing with who will die first?” she wept and wailed in agony not for her own daughter but for those who will suffer the same fate in the future to come.

See, the boys ruled the streets and got the cheapest floozies, human-transporters of viruses and diseases unknown to science. Decent girls, like those that Sipho admired, knew very well to stay away from the “rough-riders”.


Tell us what you think: Why do think Sipho is different?