You know, you can never be prepared for what life throws at you. No matter how smart, cautious, or conservative you think you are, life will never cease to surprise you. At the drop of a hat, a good day can just transform into the worst day of your life. I learned this in an unwanted and unpleasant way.

There I was, sitting in a History class, with my incompetent teacher blabbing on and on about the stupid “Ming Empire” in the background. To me he was just a voice in the background, my focus was on her: Khanyi.

She was my future girlfriend, no doubt. I adored her. To her, I was a friend, a brother even. But within our close-growing friendship I could feel that there was something else building up. I wanted her. I was not going to waste any time, I was not going to repeat my previous mistakes. It was time for me to make my move.

I went over to her. She was talking to her friend, Zanele, so I came up to her and said, “Hey Zanele, mind if I talk to Khanyi for a bit?”

After she gave me a subtle and stern look, she replied, “I’ll be at Yonela’s desk when you’re done.”

This was my opportunity.

“Hey, Khanyi! Haven’t seen your beautiful face much these days. What’s with the scarceness?”

“Well, you haven’t been talking to me much these days, Emmanuel. It’s not a girl’s responsibility to start the conversation. But I’ve missed you, uyazi?” she replied.

“Sorry about that then,” I said. “I would spend break time with you today, but I wouldn’t want to make Zanele think that I’m stealing her friend away from her. So how about I drop by your place later on? I have no homework today,” I proposed.

“Mmm, sounds good, Manny,” she said. “My parents are going to my mom’s friend’s baby shower later on, so maybe you can come at that time.”

“Sounds good,” I said. “But maybe if you give me your number you can WhatsApp me when they leave? Then maybe we can catch up.” I said.

She wrote her number on my wrist (with large numbers, might I add) in such a fashion that she was almost advertising it.

“Thanks, Khanyi. Can’t wait for later,” I said with a wink. I left before she could reply, and I left on a high note. The way things were looking, I was going to have an enjoyable day…

So the History period finished, and I grew impatient. The only thing I didn’t want to skip was break time with the squad, but otherwise, the day seemed to drag. Period after period, hour after hour, all I could think about was going to Khanyi’s house.

Finally, at 15:00, the day was over. I said bye to my squad and I went home. I didn’t even bother to go visit my locker as I had no homework that day. (Even if I had, I was too eager to go home).

I had a nice walk home with my funny friends. The people that walked home with me were in senior grades, but they behaved so childishly that you wouldn’t even be able to tell. We were cracking jokes and sharing the happenings of our day throughout the walk, so the 25-minute walk seemed to take only a few minutes.

At last, at 15:34, I was home. I didn’t even bother to change, eat, or even switch the TV on (I always did that first). I went straight on my phone and started chatting to Khanyi on WhatsApp.

You ready for me?

Not yet, big boy. My parents are leaving in 10 minutes, though. Be on your way in 5

That was my cue to start getting ready. I took off my unfashionable school clothes and put on the swaggiest outfit I had. It consisted of blue slim-fit jeans, a red Lacoste shirt covered by a black hoodie, and my Adidas Flux Trainers. Not to forget three squirts of my dad’s R400 English Blazer cologne. I was dressed to kill.

After being given the go-ahead by Khanyi, I locked the house and left, not forgetting to leave the keys under the mat for my mom who was still at work. It was finally time to go to Khanyi.

She lived two blocks away from me, which was about a ten-minute walk, max. There were two ways to get to her house: one took more time than the other, but it was safer. To walk using the shorter road, you would have to walk past the infamous den of the ‘Americans’, an infamous gang in the Cape Flats.

Their den is in one of the cramped flats that were on that road. It’s a fact that usually, people try their best to avoid this road as there have been many hijackings and robberies of pedestrians on this road.

However, it is also a fact that gangsters usually have mercy on schoolchildren and do not do much to them, so I decided to take the risk. I’m just a child and gangsters that side don’t usually target children, I thought. Besides, it was a shorter trip. What’s the worst that could go wrong? I thought. So I decided to use that road… Big mistake.

I walked through my complex and opened the electric gate to exit. As I exited, I mentally reassured myself that I was making a good decision to use the road I chose. The risk will be worth it, Emmanuel! I told myself. I started walking.

Feeling nervous, I decided to listen to some Rap music, as it always made me relaxed and confident, especially after listening to a bit of Nasty C. I didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention, so I put some earphones in my ears so that you wouldn’t see that I had a phone in my possession unless you looked carefully.

At the end of the block, I took a left turn. After skipping another block, I took another left turn to enter Khanyi’s block. I hadn’t seen anything suspicious and the whole block of flats that contained the den of the gang seemed rather still when I walked past it (on the opposite end of the road, of course).

After walking a few metres past, while my music was playing, I just felt this weird dizzy feeling and it started to feel like water was dripping down my legs. I also realised that my earphones were out of my ear and suddenly I was lying on the ground with my face parallel to the ground. After hearing muffled voices and shouts in the background, my vision just went totally black… I had been stabbed and robbed.

Some people say that there is no reward without risk. Keeping that in mind, I realised (a bit too late) that most things are only worth the risk if you achieve them, otherwise the risk is just suicidal.

If you’d asked me before I left to go to Khanyi, I would’ve thought that it would be worth the risk in the end for some time with her. But now, as I reflect in my hospital bed, mentally, emotionally and very physically broken, recovering from a bruised ego and a stab wound (the latter more serious than the other), I realise one thing that I will always remember: Don’t risk something greater than the reward you are trying to achieve.


Tell us what you think: Have you ever been robbed or stabbed?