“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen,” Babalwa said, suddenly starting to cry. “I got caught up with…” her voice trembled. “They made me do terrible things. I’m so ashamed.”

Thandi sat up in bed. For the first time she noticed the packed bag by Babalwa’s side.

“What were you planning to do? Run away?” Thandi couldn’t believe her sister was going to leave.

“They said they’d hurt you and Gogo if I didn’t do as they told me. They get me to rob the people. They hurt them as well, when they won’t hand over their money.”

“Is it the same guys who attacked me and Mpho this morning?”

“Yes. After I heard what happened I was so mad. I never wanted to do this, sis. It’s like I’ve turned into somebody else. I hardly recognise myself anymore.”

“We’ve got to phone the police and tell them,” Thandi said.

Babalwa began to shake her head. They know where we live. I’ve seen what they can do, Thandi. It’s better if I run away. I wish I’d never been born!”

Babalwa threw herself into her sister’s arms and began to sob.

“I lost my daughter and I’m not prepared to lose my granddaughter as well.” The twins looked up, startled, to see Gogo in the doorway. She walked into the bedroom and sat down beside her precious granddaughters. She wrapped her arms around them both.

“Now listen to me, Babalwa,” she said firmly. “Running away from your problems is not going to solve them. Do you want to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder?”

“No,” Babalwa shook her head. “But what can I do, Gogo?”

“You’re going to be a brave young woman. In the morning the three of us will go to the police station. You’ll tell them everything you know.”

“I’m scared, Gogo.”

“I know, wena. But Thandi and I will be beside you. I promise, we won’t let anything happen to you.”

“Alright, Gogo. And… I’m sorry I was so horrible. I thought by being mean to you and Thandi that you’d stop loving me. That way I wouldn’t miss you both so much when I was gone.”

“How could you ever think that, child?” Gogo wiped the tears from Babalwa’s eyes. “You’re the daughter of my Masego. I love you with all my heart.”

Early the following morning, Gogo, Thandi and Babalwa walked to the police station. Babalwa told the police everything she knew and a few days later the gang was arrested. Everybody made a fuss about Babalwa at school.

“You were very brave,” the teachers and learners told her.

Thandi loved having her old sister back. They talked, laughed and yelled at each other. Babalwa still got Thandi to help her with her homework. It was the best feeling in the world!


Tell us about yourself: Did you ever get involved in the wrong crowd?