The rain is bucketing down; it’s bitterly cold in Manenberg. The boy on the stoep, outside the principal’s office catches my eye. His grey trousers and thin tracksuit top offers little protection against the cold and the rain.
I am drawn to him, curious as to why he is standing there on such a miserable day. My questions are met with an angry, cold stare and silence. I learn later that the boy on the stoep had written a letter to his classmate, calling him out to a confrontation after school, “I’ll bring my man, you bring yours” followed by a detailed list of the awful things he would do with guns and knives to his friend. He gets to stand in the cold; the teachers don’t know what to do with him. Last week he got into a fight with this same friend, gave the staff the slip, ran home and returned with a knife concealed in the back of his trousers, determined to use it to settle the score. He is bright; earns full marks when he is in the mood to work. He is rarely in the mood.
I am moved, my eyes well up with tears as I listen to his story………………………Brandon is eleven years old and In Grade 5, an orphan, angry with the world, recruited and groomed by Georgie, the gangster living opposite the school. He is not the only one….his friends have been recruited too.
PLEASE HELP US………….help us to reach little ones in Manenberg before the gangs do. Help us to counter the lure of gangs. Help us to write a different story.