Termites mourned his death, but he mourned his stolen youth. Crowds of gossip, wrapped in blankets of enthusiasm, rushed to witness the glorious skin of coal, handsome features and an appetite for danger which donned his name Mdeva. His foes could blink not an eye of passion drenched in hate, but rather stole a moment to evaluate a young man whose sexual appetite had enveloped before the innocence of their younger sister.

Wrapped in shame, noon met eve, the only action that she exercised was simply sobbing in her bedroom and continuously bathing until soap drowned in the water. On stormy days, she would shamefully greet family members who had indulged in the grapevine.

“Are you still a virgin?” they would ask. To which she would paste a baleful grin and pour tea to her estranged guests.

While veins were still scarlet, in the naïve roads of Soshanguve, plump cheeks stood cold in the midnight air. His eyes gave to the sky before fixating their sight on Tshepo.

“Please, I have a wife, a family. Please.” a man in his early thirties, reluctantly, pleaded with a sixteen year old, pleading for his life.

“Maan, voetsek! I’m Mdeva and you don’t mess with me. You know why? Because I rule Sosha. I’m the youngster that they warned you about!”

Birds flew, sound alleviated, neighbours peeped and the ground dryly indulged in his blood. He was dead and in that courageous moment, Mdeva upheld his gun, a slight irritation of anorexic euphoria seduced the side of his lips, it cried and it was born in seconds. A smile donned his face.

Ties and collars feared him. Old and young. In the silence of moments, one would find him enjoying the art of solitude.

Rumour had it that on 9 June 2002, he shed not a tear, but stood still in his mother’s arms. Growing up in Soshanguve, did not toughen him up but instead made him vulnerable to the streets. His older cousin was enticed by Tupac’s era. The ‘Thug Life’ tattooed popular gangster’s lyrics burst into his adolescent psychological museum. Weed became the order of the day and his introversion sparked the interest of gang leaders. Pen fluids desiccated and marks became anorexic. Then one day, in the heat of the night, a red BMW spun off in the dusk of sanity and left behind a trail of gangster lyrics. Mother nature gave birth to natural tears. With the rain teasing his eyesight, he scammed his way through the crowd, some disapproving and stopping him in his steps to apologise for his premature loss.

Families came, buses left, scones disappeared and so did his cousin’s casket. He soon took over Soshanguve and coined the name Lenyora, as well as Mdeva. Respect blossomed, girls flooded. Some arrived as virgins and struggled to leave, as he shared no ounce of attachment for any girl he met at a party. Except for one, the loneliest and perhaps most innocent of all the girls in the township.

Tsholo, he tossed around and fantasized about her. Pursued her every single day and one fateful hour, she agreed to his advances. She had changed him slowly, he only went out to drink, steal and think about her all night. The red dress was a mistake for Tsholo that night. He kissed her slowly before his hands became possessed by his erection. Fragments of blood adorned his bed, she stood before him… He tried to resist his early grave.

She fired two shots and yelled “I’m not a statistic!”