Andile lights a cigarette and blows the smoke around us both. He reminds me of the time I smoked drugs.

“Andile, have you ever sat in one room for forty eight hours and did nothing but smoke drugs: Tik and Buttons” I ask.

“Yho! I suppose you have.” he says.

“Yes, but I also know guys who went on a month just smoking them” I say.

“How did they feel after that?” he ask.

“You mean what happened to them after that. One guy called Snethemba could not eat any food. He was meatless like a skeleton and coughed up blood all the time. All of us expected him to die at any time and did not want him around us” I say.

“How did you get on drugs?” he asks.

“Vuyo was introducing me to all of his friends who were like him. One night, he told me they were going to break in a shop of a foreigner at three o’clock in the early hours. I told him I would be fast asleep during that time. Then he told me of a drug called TIK-TEK. He said it will give me energy for twenty four hours. All I need to do was to smoke it and I won’t sleep, or I could spend the rest of the day without money. I was used to having money and did not care at what cost I got it from. Then he warned me not to get addicted to it, and I agreed. After I had smoked, I was amazed by the way I was feeling.

“I have never felt so energized and fresh, and best of all I felt like nothing could stop me in anything I do. It felt great, I must admit. I was fearless, or you could say I was a daredevil. I felt no boundaries. I felt like conquering the whole world. When I told the guys I was sitting with this, they laughed at me and kind of frightened me their skinny bodies and huge eyes that popped out.

“Time came for us to go to work, and we all sat down in a circle and planned what we were going to do. The plan was to shoot the burglar bars and get the door open. Then go straight behind the counter and take out all the money and some luxuries. If the owner came out and gave us a problem, he was to be killed. I was to stand for lookout to see if any police were coming. The five of us smoked one last time TIK-TEK, then I felt invincible and went. There was no one in the street beside us and some irritating dogs. A police van came towards us and we threw all of our weapons over the pavement grass. It then stopped, and two policemen came out: one was standing at the door of the van and was aiming at us with his nine millimetre, the other one came towards us and searched us. He founded nothing but cigarettes and lighters on us.

“He then asked where we were going to, and we told him we were going to sleep. He looked at us suspiciously and told us to go, and if he finds us again we would go sleep at the police station, then they drove away. We went back to pick up our weapons. I thought we were going to cancel the mission, but I was wrong. We were warned, but these guys did not care about that. Vuyo was walking next to me, and could see that I was afraid and told me that “A soldier dies in the battle field and the survivors will live to tell the story.”

We finally got there and did not hesitate. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do. I stood guard outside. Two gunshots went off, and the guys went inside and were taking all they could take. I heard the foreigner coming out and was shouting. Then another three gunshots went off, and I did not hear him again. ‘Police! Police!’ I shouted. Three vans were coming, and the guys were rushing to come out. I ran as fast as I could, as if I was running from death. I looked back. Two vans were on my tail, and the other three guys were caught except Vuyo. I did not see him anywhere.

The police finally caught up me and threw me in the back of the van. I was afraid because I have never been arrested before, and I didn’t know what statement I was going to give them. We got to the police station, and I was joined with them. I asked them where Vuyo was, and they told me he was dead with the foreigner. I could not believe my brother was dead. Each one of us was called one by one to be interrogated, and I was the last one. When I got there, the detective told me that they found two guns, one belonging to Vuyo and the other one was carried by Thula. Thula said to the detective I gave him the gun. Then the detective asked me where I got it from. I was shocked and did not know what to tell the detective, so I decided to tell him everything: from day one when I met Vuyo. It was on a Monday, and we were lucky to be able to see the judge and we all pleaded guilty. I was sentenced to a year in jail, the other two got two years, and Thula was sentenced to ten years for murder.