Jerome you were telling me that you live on the streets of Cape Town, what is your story, how did you land up on the streets?
I am living on the streets because I was growing up without a mother and a father. The reason I am on the streets is that there is no love for me. So the time that I was growing up, I was with my grandmother and grandfather. They passed away, there was no-one to be there for me. I was looking for friends and turned to gangsterism. Friends they say would die with you but come the time when you are in a tight corner they are not there for you.
The people that tried to be your friends, did they friend you for bad reasons?
Yes, to make me a part of the gang. I was a gangster, I was an American bender. I was hating people. If someone didn’t have love for me I was grabbing a knife or a brick and killing just for money, just to bring that money for my brothers, to get love. I only found love when I was by Jesus. There was a pastor named Pastor Vincent Alexander, he was helping me for twenty years. He provided for me love, love, love. Every time I see that man I always feel the same, he was the one giving me love.
What did he teach you? Did he help you move away from gangsterism?
He knew my grandmother and my grandfather so he grabbed me out of that world. He asked me if I wanted to know Jesus and I said yes. That is how I know the word of God, I was with Jesus for fifteen years. The devil is almost somebody who told God that whatever you build up I’m going to break down. So he sent me other friends, that was two years ago. The enemies are walking through my life all the time, putting nice things before me. But I know those nice things are not for me because the Bible declares that you go out of the world the same way you came into it. That is why money is the root of all evil. I want to ask people to help me get on my legs, help me.
What would you say to people who say that there is no such thing as rehabilitation from a life of gangsterism?
I want to tell the people who want to go to gangsterism now, that it is not worth it. It is not worth it to be a gangster. The only thing you are doing… it’s like you are taking a pen and you are writing something on your hands and you are just putting your life in danger.
Do people join gangs to feel a part of something, are they looking to belong and feel protected?
Why people want to be in gangs is because they want to be protected but I just want to tell them don’t go towards gangsterism because there is no benefit. The only thing that can happen is your death. The prison is waiting for you.
Have you been to prison?
Yes, for 6 years I was in prison. I want to tell people that you are writing your people off, you are writing your friends off. The only time when your friends come back to you is when you come out of prison. They want to know who you are and what your life was like in prison but they never come to visit you.
What did being in prison teach you?
It made my mind open.