I have always been a lover, not a fighter, but when the situation calls for it one has to roll up their sleeves and throw in a fist, maybe two, depending on the size of the guy in front of you.

So when did it all begin?

It is hard to recall.

I have been in many a brawl, scrap, barney, rol, whatever your preferred lingo and mostly come out of them defeated and in pain. I guess high school was the start. Surrounding myself with Indians as friends proved to be a daunting task. They always wanted to stir the proverbial kak pot. Looking for trouble. I was never the cause of a fight but always stood on the front line bravely, loyally when the brown, smelly excrement hit the fan.

In Matric I was involved in a racial war between Indians and Blacks. It started of with one of the lighty’s in our circle getting his cellphone charger, earphones, USB drive or something like that stolen. I can’t remember because it was something as idiotic as that to fuel a war that spanned a year. The guys in my group confronted said thief. It was just suppose to be an interrogation but instead one of the guys threw a punch, then another joined in and another. Three-on-one. Indians doing what they have always done best – never fighting fairly.

Obviously the Black guys were not going to take this and three-on-one became a full on royal rumble. About 30 Black guys, mostly youngsters with lots of barking and no biting, against the 10 of us that stayed behind as the rest of the crew split like lentils. It was a free for all smash up. Not fun to say the least. I never got hit that much and actually fared very well. Heart pounding hard in my chest, adrenalin coursing through me. Got my shots in before the principal broke it up. Enemies became friends in seconds and held each other like nothing ever happened to delay a suspension that came nonetheless. From that, on any given day, a fight would spark out of nothing and usually by association.

But, still being very stereotypical here and I apologise, my crew found a way to capitalise on this unfortunate turn on events. Indians! Hence Fight Club was born. The pay-per-view kind. Bribed cleaners’ access to the gym at breaks. Two pairs of boxing gloves. Any one had a beef would be the main fight. Centre stage, as others were charged R5 to enter and R10 to take videos. We were raking in the cash. Just teens being teens.

Forever surveying fights at school I was rarely called into action. I liked it that way. Then it happened. The worst fight of my life. Five of us were at Gold Reef City on the weekend enjoying the rides, a couple of drinks and all round fun. We were heading out of the theme park; I was ahead just minding my own business when I turned to see three of my mates being bashed by 20 guys from Lenz. If you know Lenasia, North or South, then you know exactly what I mean when I say Indians will never fight fair. The cause of the fight – someone said something about someone’s mothers cat. Typical. I ran into the mix pulling of guys and saving the mates of mine being pilled on. The fight resolved. My mates brandishing blue eyes, busted lips, one or two cracked ribs nothing too serious hobbled out of the park and destined for home. I stood waiting for our lift when these Lens ous caught me. The biggest of the bunch strung me up against the wall by my neck blaming me for the fight. Guilty by association. My bad luck. I redlined and lost it. Started throwing vulgarity like daggers. Disrobed my jacket and put em’ up. Out of nowhere before I could even get stuck in a hard blow, from an unsuspecting coward with a belt wrapped around his fist, cracked into my jaw sent me tumbling along the ground. Done! Broken jaw and six weeks with my mouth wired shut. I lost over 15kg because I couldn’t eat solid food and even resorted to blending chicken curry because I missed its taste. But I can say I stood on the front line yet again for the crazy friends in my life.

It was the movie Green Street Hooligans that said, “You know the best part? It isn’t knowing that your friends have your back. It’s knowing that you have your friends’ back.”

Another highlighted fight from my life happened more recently. About four years back we were at our local watering hole, our home away from home, enjoying my brother’s birthday. We were dominating the pool tables as usual when drama started unfolding. One of the bra’s got into an argument with the guy over some pool related action. I was at the bar when a cue ball whizzed past me and into the wall. Turning to see my friend being head butted as two other guys held him from behind. I stormed towards them. More and more pool balls went hurrying past me as another of my friends was in the other corner fighting with these other guys and throwing whatever he could to fend them off. It was chaos. I was a little drunk and didn’t know to which friend I should rush and aid. Luckily my brother was also alert to the drama and out of nowhere smashed a pool stick across one of the aggressor’s heads. Wood splintered everywhere and this guy didn’t even budge or flinch. He just pointed at him and said “You next!”

Never fight with drunken MMA fighters at a bar. We never stood a chance. Even the big bouncer, our confidant, stood back and said sorry we are on our own. The fight moved outside my brother got decked hard, I rushed the guy from behind –typical Indian I was – and then he was after me. One of our female friends got involved in the mash up and she too took a punch to the face. Stupidity I said. But this guy was unstoppable. First pool balls, a pool cue and a sucker punch – from me – yet he still stood like a giant even though he was stocky and short. He started tearing off his shirt screaming like a lunatic as we backed off while he and 10 of his buddies stood taunting and acting like mad men. When we got home we all tended to our wounds. I had a stab marks to the back. Not deep but I had no idea how they got there. Everything happened so fast it could have been anything. Crazy night! Yet once again I stood on the front line to protect my friends.

Listen, like I said, I am a lover not a fighter but sometimes to find peace you have to go to war.