Growing up in the Gang infested city of Durban built my character. And after a long battle for peace within the underworld the three year long gang war finally came to a cease.
A settlement was reached between my loggerheads and myself, the day we shook hands a young revolutionist was brought to life. Unlike many other great poets, writers and reporters my story is some what different.
Born the youngest of four children, I was raised in a traditional Indian home but why or how I became infatuated into the dark side remains a mystery.
Where I come from things don’t operate as they seem to the naked eye. Way back, years before my time an era was established, the first Generation of the Indian Mafia took to society.
This organization of professional hard headed criminals long cease to exist but its ripple effect passed on from generation to generation is slowly starting to show it’s rebirth during the present times we living in.
Before I was old enough to know about gangs I found myself already in one. For many of my ‘Guzzies’ (Blood) as we called ourselves it became a way of life.
Making my bones I was asked by my imprisoned boss to retaliate on rivals who sold us out to Police leading to my boss’s incarceration. That night’s memory remains vivid but what was worse, were the repercussions which led me into a journey of bloodshed and crime.
I was raised in Phoenix an Indian community just North of Durban. Born in Daintry Avenue, Springtown on November 28 1980 my family had to move during Apartheid times.
With thousands of others we were subjected to the group area’s act which was passed. And we were exploited into these projects.
Believing to be the neighbourhood that rose out of ash, Phoenix was said to be a place which promised new beginnings. Housing Indian’s from all parts of Durban. Feared informal gangsters regrouped here and began a terror reign during the mid 1970’s.
At a tender age of 19, I became well regarded among many big time kingpins and so came the money and the street fame. I did anything illegal for cash and became a pro at it.
Life was all rosy and high flying until the night of August 13th, 2000.
Cruising along the Bluff area on a regular drug drop my cousin and I were confronted by two siren ringing squad cars.
We were pulled over and questioned as to why we (Indians) were loitering in a white neighbourhood. When I told the officer that I was not threatened by his badge, he became hostile and struck me with his baton.
I retaliated and this broke out into a brawl, back up police was radioed and as they circled in we were overpowered and finally arrested. We were cuffed tightly and thrown into a cold cell where we were subjected to an hour of interrogation about who the drugs belonged to. I told them nothing.
The next morning we arrived beaten and injured at Durban Central Court house. We pleaded not guilty to a weapons and assault charge. There was no charge of illegal substances and the drugs mysteriously disappeared. No bail was granted and we were remanded into police custody.
Jail time changed my perception of life. In prison I learnt a lot about how to survive in society without committing crime. The little things we take for granted outside are a pure luxury inside. My main objective now was to get out and make a fresh start. 11 months later, I was finally granted parole.
I was pleased to be out but now times became even tougher, I had to find a job and the distancing from my gang was not received kindly.
Nobody close came to visit me in prison except for a few people.
This never bothered me just made me see things clearer.
I now began to find myself, the person I truly was. The once close homeboys who swore to live and die for me have now become my enemies. Upon learning that I have chosen to go straight they came at me guns blazing.
On two separate occasions I had bullets sprayed in my direction, slightly injured by the second attempt left me paranoid of my safety. There was no doubt the shooting was deliberate.
Soon after my discharge from hospital I made the hook up with Durban’s boss of bosses, Chotoo Bana. He was the retired head of the ‘Big Five’, Crimson League Gang who ruled Durban for decades.
Old and wrinkled I was amazed by his intellect; he however was not obliged to meet me at first. Being surrounded by well attired men made it difficult for me to talk to him, I humbly asked for his assistance to call off the bounty on my head. He turned away asking me to leave saying he needs time to think about it.
Mr. Bana did his backtracking of me and my family. After two days I received an anonymous phone call. A thin, lined voice ordered me to a meeting in an old warehouse in Durban central.
When I finally got there I breathe with relief seeing Mr. Bana present. I had to swear an oath of secrecy which I shall carry to my grave but after that meeting I was left free from the Gangland burden.
Due to my personal experiences I decided to make a change and for my homeboys still lost on the cold streets I wrote this innovative novel.
My objection is to reach the soul of every kid in our community, show them the inner makings of a gang, the operations, the money and the high flying lifestyles but more than that I want them to experience the wrath of the aftermath.
© Copyright 2005 the Kings of Durban by Deepak Panday