At the age of 16, a prophet and spiritual guide told Speedkop, whose given name was Sipho Mshengu, that he wouldn’t live past 25. At first this got to Speedkop; he couldn’t fully enjoy his teenage years because of fear of the death that might follow him soon after. But once through those years, he felt proud that he had defied the prophet’s premonition and survived against all odds.

Speedkop, who was born in Mashona in Gauteng, considered himself a typical family guy because he believed that no matter what he did, it would always come down to protecting his family. He claimed to love his family more than anything and often said that he would go to the end of the world just to please them. This is where the nickname ‘family guy’ came from. It was given to him by his uncle who called him that sarcastically because he believed Speedkop knew nothing about taking care of a family: he just liked to boast about it when he was drunk. ‘Family guy’ was not the only nickname Sipho Mshengu had. He also went by his drunken name, ‘Speedkop’. He was called Speedkop because once he hit the bottle he became a hot-head and nobody could tell him anything.

The prophet may have been right about one thing: Speedkop’s life took a rather nasty turn in adulthood. Even though he was older, sometimes he still felt like he was that scared lonely teenager from Mashona and when he felt like that he’d hit the bottle pretty hard.

Speedkop worked at a company that produced fragrances. He arrived at work one morning feeling a bit out of sorts, and for some reason he came up with the idea to steal a bottle of whiskey – Jack Daniel’s – from his boss’s office and get drunk on the roof top. But the problem was that his boss, Manuel, hadn’t left the office yet. Speedkop knew that if he wanted that bottle he had to devise a clever plan.

So Speedkop took his box of Lion matches and went down to the factory bathroom, trying to hide from the security cameras as he made his way. He took some ethanol from a workstation and entered the bathroom, where he started a fire. As the fire spread, he rushed back to his desk on the upper floors of the building – not noticing that he dropped the box of matches on the way. Then he sat quietly, waiting for Manuel to attend to the disaster.

Soon enough, Manuel was called to sort out the fire. Once Manuel was out of the picture, Speedkop walked to his office, went straight for the liquor cabinet and took out a bottle of whiskey. Then he sneaked up to the roof to enjoy ‘his‘ bottle while everyone dealt with the fire.

Speedkop sat on the rooftop taking sips, enjoying the beverage. Occasionally he threw rocks at birds and at vendors who were selling their products on the streets below. When Speedkop started feeling drunk, he lit a cigarette that he had scammed from a Somalian shopkeeper. He did this to gather his thoughts, but the cigarette must have been spiked because instead of calming him, it drove him mad and he started feeling angry. He decided to leave work. He walked downstairs. As soon as he left the building he saw the company director with two security guards standing on the street outside. When they saw the whiskey bottle they tried to grab him. He fought back right there in the street and smacked the three of them silly. They all stood there, in shocked silence, as he walked away with the bottle in his hand.


Tell us: Do you think smacking the company director and the security guards was the right thing to do? Why?