“I wanted him to be a lawyer. But the closest he came to one was when he was sentenced to life imprisonment.”

Everson Luhanga

Catherine Nonzuzo Thinto had three children: Ndumiso, Mbeko and Minty.

When her children were young, she prayed to God that they would be successful.

She wanted to see:

  • Ndumiso becoming a magistrate or a lawyer
  • Mbeko being a doctor.
  • Minty becoming a Social Worker.

But the nearest Ndumiso came to a magistrate was when he was twice sentenced to life imprisonment.

And the nearest Mbeko came to a doctor was when he was being treated for gunshot wounds after he was shot by the police.

All Nonzuzo’s wishes fell through the cracks.

Instead Ndumiso and Mbeko became dangerous armed criminals,  and Minty had to leave school because she suffered from fits.

Now only Ndumiso is alive.

Mbeko came out of prison and died in January 2015. Minty died in April 2013.

Nonzuzo knew early that her son would not fulfil her dreams. Njilo dropped out of school after fourth grade.

Had Njilo (Ndumiso) followed in his father’s footsteps his life might have taken a different path. His father was commander of the Alexandra police station commander. They last saw each other in 2008 and never speak.

His father doesn’t want to be associated with his criminal son.

His mother said:  “He would sometimes lock him up and never tried to rescue him no matter how much he cried to him for help.”

Njilo says while growing up, his role model was his uncle.

“My uncle was a gangster,” Njilo told Scrolla. “He committed the most dangerous crimes in the hood and the neighbouring suburbs.

“My young brother and I grew up knowing about guns from our uncle.

“He had many guns in the house. We had easy access to them.”

Nonzuzo put the blame for how her sons turned out on her two brothers.

 She says were both dangerous criminals. “I remember the day my brother got arrested, he left his guns in the house.

“He called us to hide the guns in case police come looking for them.

“My mother and I shared the guns.

“I took 11 guns and she took 11 guns. My other sister also took some guns to hide them

“We didn’t sleep.

“The cops came knocking on our door, searching for the guns, and beat us up.”

Catherine says her brother’s first conviction was when he was 15 years old.

“My family only knows the criminal life.”

Njilo’s first uncle died in 2007.

The second uncle was arrested and convicted many times in his life as a gangster. He died in 2016.