Alexandra, informally abbreviated to Alex, is a township in the Gauteng province of South Africa. It is notoriously known as Gomora. It is a vibrant place, with good and bad things going on, just like any other township, I guess. Here the streets are always packed full of people and cars going up and down. You can never tell whether it is day or night. You see, there is always hustling happening in Alex. We are all striving for a better tomorrow. Trust me when I say, it is survival of the fittest.

I grew up in 15th Avenue, in a two-roomed shack, but later moved to an RDP house in Extension nine, which is also now part of Alex due to the Alexandra Renewal Project. Extension nine used to contain a lot of gangsters – it was called ‘Gangster’s Paradise’. We were surrounded by the sound of gunshots, taverns operate 24/7 and cars spin from corner to corner, especially the Igusheshe, a 325i BMW. We usually wake up to the unbearable buzzing sound of helicopters searching for stolen cars. If not that, we experience shootouts between the police and criminals. In one of the shootouts an innocent man was mistaken for a criminal and shot dead by the police – it was very sad.

There was this guy named Mandla and he lived two houses away from mine. He was a well-known thug, but not around Alex, He always said to me, “A wise thug doesn’t steal from home.” At a later stage for unknown reasons he had to move out of Alex with his family and that was the last I heard of him until…

One morning I was awakened to the unpleasant news of him no longer being alive. Apparently, he had come back to our area the night he died to visit some friends. They had decided to spend the night at a local tavern, where they partied all night. At midnight he was seen having a physical fight with a guy named Zola. Zola stabbed Mandla, who later died in a car while being rushed to the nearest hospital.

Three days later, two innocent people were murdered – Zola’s brother and his girlfriend were attacked and shot inside Zola’s house. They were said to have died for Zola’s sins! People who witnessed the incident stated that the perpetrators travelled in a white Polo vehicle and it was obvious that they were looking for Zola as vengeance for Mandla’s death, but purposefully killed innocent individuals to spite him.
This white Polo caused havoc in our community. It was involved in drive-by shooting. I heard that in one incidence the car passed a local tavern and two firearms emerged from the windows, and then people heard the gunshots. Bam! Bam! Bam! Several people were killed and many others were badly injured. One man was told that he would never be able to walk again because the bullet penetrated his spinal cord – he now uses a wheelchair.

Another incidence occurred where the white Polo was spotted in connection to people being robbed of furniture and cars from their yards in broad daylight. Teenage girls have reported cases of rape to the police, in which the white Polo is mentioned.

It feels as if the people who own the white Polo wanted to punish the entire community for a crime caused by only one community member. I feel unsafe in hood, as the above-mentioned controversies are only the beginning of the stories of the white Polo.