A TRAGIC incident 14 years ago sparked a change in the life of Deepak Panday.
This led him to write a book, The Kings of Durban, based on gang wars and history in parts of the city.
Fast forward to today and recent suspected gang-related incidents that have flared up in communities like Phoenix and Wentworth have reignited the “gang” conversation.
In Panday’s case, his book has had a resurgence on social media and now has a daily chat slot on Lotus FM.
He is also working towards releasing a documentary.
“I began researching and writing the story in 2005 after a close buddy was shot and died in my arms. His passing caused a turf war in Phoenix and during that gang breach, I was arrested.
“I did 11 months in jail and my time inside inspired me to tell this story. It took me 10 years and it was finally released in July 2016. We have sold 5000 copies.
“Due to the recent gang violence around the country, The Kings of Durban went viral on social media. Lotus FM picked up on this and offered me an exclusive radio series.
“We go through chapter by chapter live on-air. An extract is read and I explain what transpired in the story and how it relates to what’s happening on our streets.”
Commenting on his plans for the documentary, he said: “I have taken the raw footage of my interviews during my early research and converted those conversations into a short film.
“We feature many of the city’s greats, such as Aziz Hassim, Amichand Rajbansi, Omie Singh, and BP Singh, to name a few.
“We are currently in the editing process and looking forward to the documentary’s release later this year. Now that the book has travelled internationally, we hope to see the documentary film going into foreign territories as well.”
Reflecting on the journey through his research on his website, Panday wrote: “After breaking the huge barrier of getting ‘the Capo’ Chotoo Bana’s (boss of the infamous Crimson League Gang of Grey Street back in the day) blessings to tell this story, which he firmly stood at the centre of I called for months of daily discussions with Mr Chotoo Bana and his close allies. Being tight-lipped on certain accounts, led me into an intensive investigation of the publications of that time period.
“Drum magazine and Golden City Post were most helpful with artefacts from their archives, but for me personally, the truth of the story lay in the memories of those who were actually there. ”
You can catch his slot on Newsbreak Legends, Mondays on Lotus FM from 6am to 7am.
* See more on this project via thekingsofdurban.co.za