Anathi and his gang advanced on the friends. “You’re gonna pay for making us perve a guy! We’re going to beat you ugly. Then I’m going to post the photos on the Internet so everyone can see what happens when you mess with me!” 

Anathi swung his fist at Sbu’s face. Sbu jerked his head to the side, just in time, so that Anathi’s fist only grazed his jaw and glanced off his ear. It still hurt and worse, Sbu had jerked away so hard, he lost his balance on the steep slope under the bridge. 

Sbu stumbled, heading face-first for the road ten metres below them and the cars rushing by on the highway. But at the last possible moment, he managed to grab on to Anathi’s tie. 

It was a cheap tie. It ripped down the middle from Sbu’s weight, but by then he’d recovered his footing. 

He darted to the side, still holding the shredded remains of the tie. 

“Oh, now you are REALLY going to pay,” Anathi said. 

And then a voice called out from under the bridge on the other side. 

“I don’t think so.” 

They turned to see a little old lady making her way down towards them. She was wearing a neon orange vest like a car guard, and carrying a walkie-talkie. 

Anathi packed out laughing. “First I got a girl disrespecting me in public, then a cross-dressing boy and now a gogo is coming to the rescue? You guys are kidding me!”

The old lady hesitated. “You need to learn some respect for your elders, young man.” 

“Vaya, gogo! This is nothing to do with you,” Anathi sneered. 

“Oh, but it’s everything to do with me.” She winked at Sbu and Song. 

“You see, my name is Ma Patiwe and I run the neighbourhood watch around here.” She pointed to the words “Keeping Langa Safe” printed on the front of her orange vest.

“And we don’t like otsotsi and bullies, especially when they’re causing problems for our friends.”

At that moment, K8 poked her head over the bridge next to Airtime. She was joined by four guys, all wearing orange vests and carrying walkie-talkies.

“Look guys, I found them!” K8 shouted down.

 When the call from Sbu had come in, K8 had phoned their friends at the neighbourhood watch. While Song, Sbu, Yankee and Airtime confronted Anathi, she had driven to Langa to pick up Ma Patiwe and her crew. 

“Nilungile, Ma Patiwe?” one of the guys shouted. 

“Everything is fine,” Ma Patiwe said. She turned to Anathi. “I believe you were going to hand over your phones to my friends?”

“We’ve got all the evidence we need,” Song grinned.

“And we even know what school they go to,” Sbu said, holding up the ripped tie with its distinctive red and black stripes. “Midfields.”

Image: Sam Wilson, CC-BY

WHAT DO YOU THINK: If you were in serious trouble, which adults in your life could you trust to come and help you?