“We killed, raped and robbed them of their possessions and their peace of mind”
Ndumiso Thinto goes by the name Njilo on the streets of Alex. It means “we have everything and if we don’t have it we take it by force”.
Even his own mother calls him Njilo.
In an interview with Scrolla.Africa, Njilo, who is now a reformed character, revealed:
- He has lost count of the number of people he has killed.
- He got his first gun when he was 13.
- He killed his first victim when he was 14.
- He cannot remember how many times he has been arrested.
- He has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment twice.
- He was highly feared in his community.
- “I was a man among men.”
Njilo said his first arrest was on the night he killed his first victim – Saturday 2 December 2000.
“I shot and killed the leader of a rival gang. That same night, I shot another person with 14 bullets. I can’t tell you how many bullets landed in him and how many missed.”
After he pulled the trigger a group of people gave chase and shot him.
“While I was unconscious they took away my gun. I was taken to Tembisa Hospital.
“I saw the man I had just shot in the hospital’s casualty ward. I later learned that he died from his wounds.”
Njilo was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. While serving his sentence at Sun City, he came to believe that crime pays.
In jail he met and learned from some of the most senior and experienced criminals who had a lot to teach him.
“When I returned from prison, I upped my game with this new criminal knowledge.
“I was no longer robbing people of their cell phone and TVs. I was doing big crimes that pay.
“I was doing car hijackings, house robberies and other serious crimes that net serious money.”
Not everything was about money. Once he and a friend gang raped a girl.
“We saw this girl and threatened her with a firearm and ordered her to go with us.”
They raped her all night.
Njilo and his cousin Balloon-Tyre, who also became a hardened criminal, both admitted that it was not poverty that drove them to a life of crime.
Their role models were hard-core ruthless criminals.
They wanted the swag life – beautiful clothes, expensive whiskey and pretty girls.
Njilo says in 2009, a year after his release from prison, he was arrested again for burgling a house.
Before that he had been arrested several more times, but had skipped the court cases.
“I escaped from police custody at different times.
“I was a powerful man. When I walked the streets, people would shift away for me.
“I could flash my gun in broad daylight without having to hide it. No one would raise their voice or lift a finger against me.
“But when I was arrested a second time, all those cases I was running away from and not attending court for, caught up with me and I was freshly charged. I faced more than eight charges.”
Once more he was sentenced to life imprisonment – but this time he would see the error of his ways and give up his life of crime.