I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was three years ago. It was my fault; nobody forced me to do it, but I still regret it until this day.

I first met Daniel in 2010. I had just moved to a new school and had no friends. Other kids were teasing me and only Daniel stood up for me. Other kids were scared of him but I wanted to be just like him. I started following him around and a few weeks later we became friends. He was a grade ahead of me but the next year we were in the same grade. He taught me how to steal. It started small like stealing pens and teachers’ money and possessions, but then it went too far.

It was the 26th of April 2013. We had decided to bunk class that day and go to our spot behind the school. Daniel said that we had to up our game; that we can do better than stealing money and phones. I agreed and we decided to hijack a car. We decided to do it after school.

We went to Vincent that day and waited in a hidden corner. We wait for hours before a car finally parked. It was a black Mercedes Benz C-class with a woman inside. We went up to the car and I knocked on the window. When I got her attention, Daniel opened the door on the opposite side and pulled her out. She tried to call for help but Daniel put a knife next to her back and held her mouth.

He pushed her down on the ground and stole her bag, and then we got into the car and drove off. Two days later, we went to Daniel’s cousin, who is a corny car dealer, and sold the car for R10 000. We shared the money and Daniel got the bigger share. I was feeling very guilty and we decided not to do it again. I thought that was the end of our problem but it was just the beginning.

On the 23rd of December 2013 we finished our final exams and were hoping to see our names in the newspaper the next year. I went to Daniels’ house to tell him that I was travelling to Cape Town for Christmas and will not be back till after the New Year. We talked about what we were going to do in the next year and that’s when I got a call from my sister. She said that the police were at my house with a sketch of our faces. She said they were looking for us and were coming to Daniel’s house now.

We were shocked and very scared.

Later that day we were arrested for hijacking. We were taken to a police cell. Our parents were very disappointed in us. They could not afford our bail so we stayed in the police cell. I was very scared, but Daniel said that I must keep it together and deny, deny, deny. We stuck to our story for six months and then the police decided to put us in separate cells to try and break our spirits.

Daniel got into a fight in the other cell and was murdered. I was so heartbroken that I told the police everything. They sentenced me to 5 years in prison.

I have been in prison for 2 years now. I wrote this note to you my fellow brothers, so you will not follow in my footsteps and know that having bad friends turns you into a bad person.


Tell us: Do you agree with the narrator that having bad friends turns you into a bad person?