He was always a suspect whenever something went missing. Nobody liked his lifestyle as he was a thief. He stole anything he could find his hands on and sell it so he could buy drugs. The community needed protection from his addiction. He was always walking away with other people’s belongings and the neighbours wanted to cut his legs off.

“I am sick and tired of this nuisance boy, hayi ngikhathele!” said Gogo Mahlangu from next door, annoyed. She had just discovered that her water tap had been stolen. Thabang was every neighbour’s nightmare especially when it was night time. It was like he was born to steal. Everything seemed to disappear whenever he was around.

“What has he done now?” her mother asked after Gogo Mahlangu lodged a complaint to Thabang’s parents. It was like they were expecting it in advance.

“That rubbish of yours took my water tap,” said Gogo Mahlangu. Thabang’s father took his phone and called the police. He preferred Thabang locked up in jail instead of referring him to a rehab centre.

“I’m going to kill him whenever I see him. We’re so sorry what he did to you Gogo Mahlangu” his father said and everyone went to bed.

The next morning Thabang came back home. He was sneaking into his backroom slowly holding the door handle. He did not want his parents to find out he hadn’t been home.

“Thabang! Hey wena, Thabang!” her mother shouted.

“I’m gonna kill you this time,” his father said holding a sjambok with his right hand.

“Papa wait, I can explain,” Thabang shouted, running away from his father.

“Don’t come back here, stay where you are!” his father said.

Thabang ended up in the streets eating from rubbish bins and begging motorists for money.
He was homeless with no family by his side any longer.

“He went from being a problem child to a hobo on the streets,” people described him whenever they saw holding a cardboard begging for money in town. Some people couldn’t care less seeing him in that condition. He was a thief and that’s were thieves ended up.

“I only need R1 sir,” Thabang begged a motorist. The man in the car didn’t even bother looking at him, and cursed at him instead.

The last time people heard about Thabang was that he had overdosed on drugs and died in a scrapyard somewhere outside town. Thabang may be dead now but stories about drug addicts in our communities are still much alive and we have a responsibility as society to help these kids.

Tell us: What do you of Thabang’s story?