"I'm a criminal for my kids"
This dad explains why he turned to crime to support his family.
I guess as a father one of the things one wants to do is to provide for their family. Even the Bible says: “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." - 1 Timothy 5:8.
In the case of Andile, when his girlfriend fell pregnant he wanted to find a way to provide for his family, but he chose the wrong route. He chose the life of crime so that he could have quick cash. He has since been “clean” for four years and has turned his back on the life of crime. I asked him a few questions about his past life.
How many kids do you have?
I have three children, twins aged 9 and a daughter aged 2. They are from different mothers.
What sort of crime did you do?
It was mostly robberies, cash in heists and sometimes house breaking. Anything horrible you can think of but I never raped or killed anyone. Now when I look back I know that I have caused a lot of trauma with some of my victims. Holding a gun against someone’s head is not child’s play. It can take years for one to heal and some never heal and this affects their families.
As a father, how do you feel about the families you victimised?
I am remorseful of the things I did. Yes, you rob people but when you sit at home alone and think, it’s not a good feeling. Sometimes when you hold a gun against the head of the father of the house you tell him that he either co-operates or he will lose the whole family. That is traumatic and you see the fear in their faces. So they choose to co-operate in order to protect their families. That is how bad it is. The intention was not to hurt them, only if they were to co-operate.
Would you go back and apologise to the families you victimised?
No, I wouldn’t. That wouldn’t be an easy thing to do at all. I have done time in prison and the life I lived is haunting me and I am paying the price for that and do not think going back to apologise will help change anything.
Will you tell your daughters of the life you lived?
Yes, when they are older I want to tell them of the life I lived. I do not want to hide anything from them. It is best that I tell them myself than for them to hear from other people or the community. I want to be a responsible father to them.
How has your life affected your family?
I not only hurt my victims but my mother as well. She was unaware of the life I was living and I used to lie to her and was well behaved so she never suspected anything. I gave her the respect as my mother and it was only on the day a troop of police vans came to my house to arrest me that she knew about the life I was living. When I was in prison she even got sick from stress and I don’t want to hurt her again.
Have you changed?
Yes, I want to be a responsible father and do not want to live that life again. I need to earn people’s respect for them to see that I have changed and trust me again. I was raised in a good family but being in bad company resulted in a life of crime but am taking responsibility. I chose this road.
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Read more by Masanda Peter