For years James Bond fans have wanted a black James Bond, with many suggesting Idris Elba be given the role. I mean, it’s Idris – he has the charm, the charisma, and the voice to nail the famous “The name’s Bond, James Bond” line with ease. 

I think I would play that role better than him because I live that life. I am the hood 007: the name’s Tyulu, Asithandile Tyulu. I live in one of the biggest townships in South Africa, Khayelitsha in Cape Town – the 10th most dangerous city in the world, according to

I know Khayelitsha has three exits: the N2 towards the CBD, the N2 to Somerset West, or the R310 towards Muizenberg, and similarly, when on foot, every place I enter, I always think of an exit plan; where I sit/stand must have a clear pathway to the exit. 

I live in site B in Khayelitsha; we do not have streetlights but Apollo lights. The Apollo lights do not light the whole area well, creating blind spots across the entire hood. I know where each one is. There are three spaza shops near my house; there are two I can’t go to at night because they are right in the blind spots. Every time I realise that I have run out of something and can get it from the nearest spaza, I change my walk  –  from my regular roll to a more confident “I’m not scared” stride. I walk like I own the land; I’m the king. When I see someone approaching my direction, I speed up and walk towards them to gain proximity to them; so if they try to pull out a gun, I’m close enough to make it a hand-to-hand combat fight.

This might seem a little overboard or paranoid; the latter I won’t deny. But understand, I was in a traumatic event that I wrote about in Abafowethu, and ever since then, everything I do has been a little bit paranoid. I say it is justified; by July 2022, there were 513 murders in the jurisdiction of the three police stations in Khayelitsha, and 26 of those were killed in mass shootings. According to the Daily Maverick, Khayelitsha has 1 police officer for every 628 residents, and with these stats, it really just means we’re on our own.

I am living the spy life of James Bond because of circumstances; without training or any high-tech gadgets, I must keep myself, my family, my friends and my significant other safe. I really don’t know if I would be able to put this knowledge to good use in the face of actual danger, but there’s no better motivation than survival. I pray I never have to. If you get the chance to leave the hood, do not hesitate to love it from a distance.

If you liked this story, you may also enjoy Abafowethu here

Tell us: What reconnaissance work do you have to do in your neighbourhood in order to keep safe?