My name is Keanan, I am 19 years old and I am from Port Elizabeth. Down in the ghetto or as everyone calls it – Gelvandale.
What can I say about my hood?
There is a lot going down every day, if it’s not some random gangster shoot-out, then it’s people my age abusing drugs. The Northern area of Port Elizabeth needs immediate attention. Our youngsters are losing their way. I pray day and night that I don’t fall down the same path because I have amazing plans for my future and becoming a drug addict is not one of those plans.

Allow me to take you on a journey. I’ll tell you a little story of the things that happen here on a day-to-day basis. The story I am about to share is a bit personal but I feel that it should be told because there might be someone out there, going through what my friends and I went through. It feels as if it all happened yesterday because it plays over and over in my head like a song that’s on repeat. The memories are so overwhelming and even at night when I wake up I am all sweaty and I struggle to sleep.

It’s the year 2016, I am in Matric and I have two friends who are like brothers to me because we literally grew up together. We went through primary school together and we had to split up when we went to high school because we wanted to go to different schools but we still saw each other in the afternoons after school. Their names were Ryan & Darren. We were like brothers, people used to call us the “inseparable three” because we were always seen together and people started to think that we’re related as we told them we’re family.

Growing up, we each had a dream, Ryan wanted to become a hot shot- lawyer because he could lie really well and he was on debating team at his school. Darren was the smart one, he wanted to become a mechanical engineer and I was the significant other. My dreams weren’t as extravagant as theirs, all I wanted was to become a writer because I can tell a story from scratch really quickly. I had the talent, why not make a profession out of it? So we did the most at school, we put in the extra effort and passed well every term. I became the head boy at my school, Darren the deputy head boy at his school and Ryan was a prefect at his school. We would always feature in the newspapers for academic reasons and our parents were so proud of us. We were “squad goals” to the other kids and they aspired to be like us. I must admit, it wasn’t an easy ride, there were times that I just wanted to drop out of high school because the pressure of being in matric can become too much at times but I had to push myself to my full potential.

Trial exams approached and that’s like the most stressful time in a Matriculants life because it’s almost like a glimpse of what you can expect at the end of the year. One afternoon we decided to study together, Ryan and Darren were on their way to my house when a shoot-out erupted and they were caught in the middle. Everything happened in front of my house. There was no time to run because everything happened so quickly. All I saw was their bloody bodies, laying there in the street.