Former gangster now has matric and right attitude
A 22-YEAR-OLD Sasolburg man managed to pass his matric after untangling himself from a life of gangsterism that claimed the lives of some of his accomplices.
Thapelo Kheswa is, however, disappointed that his matric results were not good enough for him to enrol for an education degree – a career he had set his sights on pursuing. He got a diploma pass but not the required bachelor pass.
“I obviously don’t qualify,” said a dejected Kheswa, conceding he would have to make do with the results he had achieved.
He said his former group, besides often clashing with other gangs, often terrorised his community. Many of the former gangsters were now languishing in jail, while others had died in clashes and ambushes.
Kheswa said he was thankful to the teachers from his school and the initiation school who gave him the push to extricate himself from a life of crime.
“I was a gangster but my elders managed to help me abandon my ways. My teachers were very supportive. I was a gangster for about four years but I took a decision to preserve my life,” he said.
Although he was never arrested for any of his crimes, he was questioned by police in connection with a stabbing. The case was eventually dismissed.
“I have lost friends and some are in jail for gangsterism. There were gang wars in the area.
“I no longer hang with those people because I took a decision to live my life in the right track, but it was not at all easy. At some point I even contemplated giving up on school but my teachers encouraged me to soldier on,” he said. “I guess it was just a bad phase in my life.”
The young man now lives alone, having grown up in a childheaded home with his siblings.
His mentor and former teacher Raymond Nkomo expressed delight at Kheswa’s achievement.