One day one of the boys stopped me. He asked where I was from and I said Gauteng. He said he was also from there. One of his friends asked him why he wasn’t doing anything to me.

The boy said, “He’s also from Joburg, like me.”

I heard them discussing whether they should take my phone, so I gave it to them. They also took my books and burnt them. This was in 2013. My body was vibrating at the time, it was like I was holding my breath after they had left. I was sweating and something told me to run. But I didn’t. I was worried they would chase me if I did. I walked back to The Homestead. I got to my room and locked the door.

After the first time I got robbed they gave me new books and a new bag to take to school.

I got robbed a second time. It was me and Thembela going to school in the morning, our school usually ended at 1 o’clock. We took the bus from a different station and when we came back it was just me and Obed because Thembela went to Cape Town. When we got off the bus we saw the boys from Joe Slovo high school. They were standing there and we thought they were just kids from the school. When we got off the bus one of them called us and I just ignored him.

Obed went across and they asked him if he had one rand. He said he didn’t and the boy took out a knife. They told me to come to them. I said I was not going to. Obed was busy taking out his wallet and they took his money. It wasn’t R1, it was R45. I wanted to run but I was worried that they would take out their anger on Obed.

It was summer, a sunny day, in the morning. We had left school early. I went back to them and they took my earphones and my phone. One of the boys first asked me what section I was from. I said D section and he called me and said, “Come and get your phone.”

He took a knife and held it behind his back. He thought that I hadn’t seen it. I knew he was trying to lure me to him so he could stab me. He laughed while saying this. I wondered why he would want to give back my phone. I was laughing but my heart was beating fast. I told Obed to run though I knew he cannot run well. Obed and I ran back together and told them at The Homestead that Obed had been robbed.

I told them I was robbed of my phone, hoping they would give me another phone and Obed his money, but nothing happened. We told them we wanted transport to school as we didn’t feel safe. They organised the transport. We went to school but the transport would arrive at school at 5p.m. although the school ended at 1p.m. We’d wait for hours.

At the school there were coloured guys who smacked Obed. They thought they could take advantage of us. They asked me where I was from and I told them in Xhosa I was from Khayelitsha. They then walked over to Obed and asked him where he is from. He told them in English that he was from Khayelitsha. They smacked him.

I wanted to go fight but I knew those boys had guns. Some of their parents were gangsters and I knew it would be dangerous, so I didn’t fight, and watched them until they walked away. The coloured boys had a bottle of alcohol. They drank and smoked dagga. We waited until 5p.m. and were hungry. We complained to The Homestead that we had to wait and were being bullied. The Homestead fired the bus driver then we had to walk again.

They said, “It’s summer and it’s not cold and not raining, so you need to find your own way and use a safe bus station.” There are no safe bus stations in Khayelitsha.

I bought a phone again and went to school one day and met some guys. They said, “Let us see your phone.” I didn’t know them and I showed them my phone.

One said, “Ah, his phone suits me. You’re not getting it back.”

I wanted to fight but didn’t and walked away crying. I walked and told myself I’d never buy myself anything because everything is just robbed. When I was on the bus, I cried and asked myself, “Do I deserve these things happening to me? Staying at The Homestead and getting robbed?”

I cursed at God and then fell asleep.

When I got to The Homestead I told them I had been robbed again. They listened to me but nothing changed. Then I thought, maybe I deserve this stuff that is happening to me. I started to have thoughts about buying a gun. I couldn’t use a knife; I don’t like blood. It was one of the things that stopped me from being a gangster. I therefore thought of buying a gun to protect myself. You could buy guns cheaply in Khayelitsha, for R300 – R400.

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Tell us: What do you think the Home could do to protect the boys from gangsters?