Beware the Triple B trap at all costs

2010-10-09 13:30

Kevin McLoughlin did everything right to make sure he would live to see another day.

He was hypervigilant and he kept his wits about him.

He was a man on ­constant alert, not because he was a ­fugitive from the law or a presidential bodyguard, but because he owned a jewellery store in a shopping mall and at this time of the year it’s all about life or death.

On Monday, after surviving a hold-up last year and a robbery attempt two weeks ago, McLoughlin’s luck ran out. He was gunned down by robbers who stormed his Northgate, Joburg, store and stripped it of its gold jewellery.

And so begins the yearly heist and mall robbery season, as regular as clockwork.

Every year, just after the first blush of spring, the boys go into full Ocean’s ­Eleven mode and unleash themselves on the country.

Now, you have to understand that there’s a difference between your run-of-the-mill gangster and this type of guy, who is called a gintsa ekasi.

He drives some kind of Beemer or VW, wears ­brand-name sports apparel from head to toe, sports a thick gold chain (usually with matching gold tooth) and has some ­serious “swag”.

And the girls love it! You can tell when someone in your street is dating a gintsa.

The resident gossips gravitate towards that yard, there are random braai and drink sessions throughout the festive ­season, and different cars with arrogant creeps in big gold chains screech up and down the street at every occasion.

The gintsa’s girlfriend becomes the most popular girl on the street, and she revels in the attention.

Her Triple B (bad, boy boyfriend) lavishes her with gifts, usually the very same gold chains and rings that he and his gang had stolen with brutal force and probably murder.

He showers her with R100 notes so that she can buy all the Legit outfits and ­Cavella shoes her little heart desires.

And let’s not forget the Christmas groceries shopping spree at Makro with the ol’ lady (her mother) because nothing says you’ve arrived more than the ­wholesale-size, non-perishable goods that will be the ­envy of your neighbours.

And if that “sweet son-in-law” throws in a gallon of paint to spruce up the house and a gigantic flat-screen TV, well, he’s a keeper alright!

That all these goods are being bought with blood money is hardly a concern to many of these gangster molls and their greedy mothers.

It’s all about being ­“better” than the neighbours, and if the deal comes with storing some guns under the bed and enduring the occasional drunken beating from the Triple B, who are they to complain?

I’ve known a few mothers and ­daughters like this in my life.

They always work as a tag team and are equally envied and reviled by their peers.

They walk the township streets with heads held high and a permanent smirk on their faces.

They see themselves as achievers, that is, until that bad boy is either killed or ­arrested.

Then they spend their Sundays in prison waiting rooms clutching ­containers full of home-cooked food made up of the requisite four colours.

As a woman who has managed to ­escape the gintsa girlfriend trap so ­desired by many young township girls, I spend a lot of time instilling a sense of pride and self-assurance in my younger nieces because it’s so easy to fall into that rabbit hole.

The bitter tears of Mary McLoughlin, and other heist and robbery widows, are not something you want to have on your conscience.

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