It Was A Mistake …


You’ve been chilling and kicking it with your friend at his spot. Telling stories and talking bs like normal adult men do. A little sip of something iced, a little sniff of something white, now there’s ‘a dragon pumping in your veins’. Maybe it was a dare, maybe a bet about who has the fastest ride, either way you two found yourselves blasting down the street like a bullet trying to prove who the big shot is. The dragon’s spitting fire, you are seeing the flames and aren’t terribly focused. A swerve too hard, a gear shift too soon, car spins, the steering wheel stops listening to you, the ground goes where the sky’s supposed to be, then… everything goes black. You come to and find your blue mini cooper in some shrubbery. You climb out and find the street littered with the mutilated bodies of school kids. They are dead, YOU killed them.


Your boys, who you haven’t seen in years, are visiting you. You are hanging out at your crib gripped by stories about back in the day. You decide to hit the streets in that May weather looking to find nice young things to throw your hooks at. You drive down the street, hyped on conversations and the sound is on full blast. You approach an intersection and time the green robot as someone at the back cracks a joke and you turn around to fist bump the punchline. You turn to look at the road again and you realise that you mistimed the robot and now it’s red and you are halfway into the intersection. The last thing you remember is blinding lights coming towards you as two car crash into each other. You come out of the car and realise that two cars are wrecked beyond repair, because of YOU. Somehow, the 8 people involved in the accident all walk away without a scratch.

Story I is about Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye. Story II is about me.

On September 5, Sanele May woke up, probably, like any other 23yr old who is fortunate enough to have a job. His intentions were to clock in at work, do his job, earn his salary and go home. He had no idea that by the end of that day, he’d be facing 23 charges of murder after the truck he was driving ploughed into 3 taxies and 1 car.

We live a life that is more or less mapped out. We have a general understanding of where our lives are, at least, expected to go. Also, we rely on a perceived balance of nature or existence. For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, says science. Karma says you get what you put out. You reap what you sow; rewards and punishments are dished accordingly. But in life, there is this thing called an “accident” which basically says f* you to all of the above. By it’s very nature, an accident can happen to anyone, under any cirmustances and the final result of it is completely unpredictable.

When people heard about Jub Jub’s accident, there was a resounding “YAAAH!” type finger wiggling. I don’t do drugs and I wasn’t drunk or racing but, on any other day, 8 people could have died because of my actions. What happens when the punishment does not weigh the same as the crime. (If) Sanele did fake his driving licence, is the death of 23 people adequate punishment? As much as I personally believe his a dick, I don’t think Jub Jub wanted to kill those kids. We can all say “yah, but…” but at the end of the day it was an accident.

I had an interesting conversation with someone recently. Tshepo told me about something that happened about 20yrs ago. He was walking with a friend in the hood on evening when a car full of guys pulled up next them. The driver – a ‘friendly’ guy – opened the window and politely asked them if they knew where they could find their friend ‘so and so’. The young boys gladly gave directions to where ‘so and so’ was hanging out. The next day, ‘so and so’ was found shot dead with his head stuffed in a toilet at the very spot that Tshepo told those guys he was at.

Yes, it could have happened to anyone, but it didn’t. It happened to YOU. Those guys could have asked anyone that day. But they didn’t, they asked YOU. If the brakes on the truck did fail, then it could have happened to anyone who was driving it. But it didn’t happen to anyone, it happened to Sanele May. Culpable Homicide is a horrible charge to face, it basically says that, “we know you didn’t mean for anyone to die. Heck, you weren’t even trying to hurt anyone. But, you done did f* up and you going to jail”

My point with all this, we are never fully in control. Some things do not make sense. Call it fate or destiny or whatever, but some things will happen but only to some people. It’s sad but it’s almost like luck, like the lotto. Some things will derail your life in the most horrible way, just nje. That is 1 mistake, upsized to large, with extra irreparable damage & sauce. That will be your whole life and 95 cents! Is that take away or kill yourself here?

Got any stories about how it did/could have all gone wrong?

Photographer: Khumbelo Makungo