The taxi industry is renowned for its high income and is arguably one of the most common business ventures at the disposal of the black child. The riches guaranteed by this business, makes it a worthy try. The luxurious lifestyles of many taxi bosses as pronounced by their luxurious fancy cars, and big houses with swimming pools completed by lavish expensive furniture, is an alluring possibility in the eyes of many. However, the flip side of this business is well-known. Horrific animated movie style esque stories of endless taxi wars make headlines every day such that it has now been declared as one of, if not the most dangerous business ventures. At the epicenter of this deadly profitable business is the presence of the “inkabi”, a popular Zulu word which translates to ‘a hired hitman’. In this episode I revisit one of the interviews I had with one of the deadliest hitman to ever grace the taxi industry and below I share his personal narratives of the taxi underworld.

It is a child dream for most youngsters to become rich or famous during the course of their lives. Whilst weightier emphasis is put on destiny in an attempt to diffentiate between those who eventually realise their dreams to those who doesn’t, i believe the choices one makes has a lot to do with whatever one eventually becomes. Why I say so? Because it would be controversial and arguable to suggest that those who fail or end up in prison were destined to end that way. The main thrust here is that so many of our children are brought up in comfort zones where they are told that they can be whatever they want without even having to work towards that goal. For, Mfanafuthi, the man I will refer in this writing as Fana this is how he was raised. The man came into the world on the 6th of June in the year 1990. He was born in a family of six. Curiously though, the first five were boys. When her mom fell pregnant she was expecting more than ever a girl child, but unfortunately as wasn’t the case, along he came another male child, thus upon holding him, his mother was like, “ooh Mfanafuthi !!. That was how he ended up being known to the world as Mfanafuthi.

The years that followed , saw Fana grew up in what he dubbed a rich family background. His father was a Lecturer and his mother a nurse. The ” cheeseboy” lifestyle at home meant he was afforded close to all his childhood wishes in terms of luxuries. He grew up in a household that believed that he could became whatever he wanted to be. He aspired to be a medical doctor but did not work hard in school to realise that dream. By the time Fana completed matric, his father had passed away, leaving his mother to single handedly support the family. The old school nature of his father was pronounced by the little emphasis he put in investing, as well as, creation of generational wealth. Apart from their family home and an old outdated BMW car, he had left his chlidren empty handed financially. Fana didn’t do well at school either, as he didn’t work hard enough to get the required grades that necessitated him to pursue his preferred medical degree. After high school he was to suffer the reality of unemployment that many youth experience when they transform from inexperienced teenagers into adulthood.

At first Fana tried motor machanics with two of his elder brothers but was too lazy and shy. He couldn’t cope with carrying loads in relation to the former and as of the latter, he thought he was too good to work with greasy thus couldn’t afford to be seen around in dirty overalls. The first time he was lured into the taxi underworld he was about to turn 23. Having tried all avenues and failed, a former friend from high school whose parents had owned some taxis for a decade, elucidated to him how much he could make as a hitman. There was of course lingering trust issues when he first came in. But that was quelled once he executed his first assignment. There was more to come, in what become his full time job.

Detailing how he executed his assignments Fana differentiated how targets were assessed. Accordingly high profile targets commanded the highest fees. These high profilees came in form of prominent figures both locally in the neighborhoods and the country at large. They couldn’t be brought down overnight. In some instances they would be followed for approximately four months or more before a time would be picked where they would be murdered premeditatedly. Some of those targets had body guards and of course impossible to easily bring down. That would require the whole family to be executed along with the prime targets. Regular people in the streets commanded little in terms of fees and would be executed within a matter of days. The most surprising part was how he said he would be worried when he wasn’t called in to execute his job. He also didn’t recall how many people he had killed, but recalled they were “so many” as his killing spree lasted close to seven years.

The high number of illegal guns and ammunition in circulation was amongst the key push factors of the almost unstoppable violent taxi wars. He recalled to have used close to six different firearms, all of which were illegal and therefore untraceable. In Fana’s words, the lifestyle he led was too simple for the world, his family in particular to know about his dark secrets. His chilling testimony depicts how brutally calculating assailants fits within the broader society where there existence poses more harm than good. Besides, he didn’t trust anyone outside this territory who was worthy knowing about his killing spree. Most of his hits were properly executed without mercy in brutally premeditated fashion, to worry about the police investigations and crucially the guns were untraceable. What, however landed him prison on a charge of murder, possession of an illegal firearms and ammunition was a scuffle he said took place at one of the local Taverns. In the process he unknowingly shot dead an undercover Cop.

The standout feature about Fana’s chronicle was his regret. It’s something I gave some cridence because he broke down more than once during his narration. It was totally awkward and baffling that irregardless of the massive damage his killing spree brought he wasn’t willing to pay with his own life. He actually considered the six life sentences which were to run concurrently with 50 years a fair sentence, as opposed to the public call of the now revoked death penalty. They key inference to be drawn from his narrative being crime does not pay as it’s a known fact that the repurcations of crime outweigh the proceeds. That’s why they say when you do crime you have to be willing to do the time (in jail). The assertion that you can be whatever you want to be even without working for it is totally misplaced and at odds with the requirements for success. To achieve a goal you have to work towards it. If one aspires to be a Lawyer, one has to know the subjects to focus with in high school and the level of dedication that is needed before one can actually realise that dream. We therefore have to equip our children with the right lines of inspiration, that’s whilst they can be anything they aspire it is impossible without working hard. Lastly, investing is a necessity. Most people doesn’t save for retirement, or are old school minded to think about investing, whereas that is what differentiate between the rich and the poor as it create multiple streams of income which is the key towards financial freedom.

Finally jail is real, In my 10 year journey as a journalist l haven’t interviewed anyone with jail experience and recall a single utterance praising the place. You can do yourself a great deal of favour by keeping yourself out of the confines of prison walls.

The end