I grew up in Orlando East, during the era of institutionalized racism and enforced tribal segregation by law, that gave rise to hostilities, gangsterism, enhanced tribalism and segregation among blacks, especially in the townships.
Since I’m Sotho, we were allocated a predominantly Sotho speaking area which was ruled by its own gangsters called the Top 7, sharing borders with its rivals the Beez, predominantly living towards the north of Orlando east, the Vultures towards the west, the Kwaitos dominating the centre,the Vikings in Mlamlankunzi, the Kelly’ s
and the Bunzen sharing the south eastern borders of Orlando East close to Orlando train station which made it their default “warzone” where they had fights with their “Okapis”.
…And Ma-juta from Naledi and Ma-hazel from Mzimhlophe who were main rivals like Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs, had their branches throughout Soweto, and used local trains as their “playgrounds”/”war zones” as well.
These violent and notorious gangs, were feared by most people and used to terrorize the neighbourhood and had regular “wars” with rival gangs, but I didn’t care too much about my surroundings busy living under the”radar” believing that what was happening around me, won’t affect me. Little did I know was going to happen next…
On my way to my school I had to travel by train from Naledi train station, for about an hour or more to my scbool Matjeni primary that was situated in Orlando East, were I made some friends and it seemed they were having a lot more fun than me.
Every-day I met them while I went to scbool, they were doing what they loved best, they were smoking marijuana and surfing trains. I observed them for a few days, not going to school for a number of days, just having fun until I got cold feet going back to school.Little did I know that I was becoming a member of a notorious gangster group…the x 5’s from Naledi.