He was a handsome man, ambitious. He wanted to better himself and make his mark on the world. He had a small growing family. He worked as a security guard at a jewelry store in an upscale shopping mall in Johannesburg.
He was shot down by strangers during an armed robbery. He died of the wounds.
Lawrence was Precious's full brother, a few years younger than her. She loved him the most. He went to Johannesburg because that is where the action is, where a young fellow might get ahead.
Johannesburg is a brutal, hard city, built over gold mines, where hard-rock miners descend 5,000 feet down to the mines, hurtling toward hell in cage-like elevators that plunge into the bowels of the earth -- for gold!
Gold! The Africans call it "Egoli." Egoli means Place of Gold. We are not immune. We are not free of this sin. Gold has that power over us. Gold is money. Gold is power. The black man and the white man are slaves to gold.
Lawrence was a good man, but he was not immune. He guarded the jewelry store. He died protecting the diamonds and gold from thieves. But we are all thieves, and why did he have to die? Why him?
Lawrence lived in Hillbrow. Hillbrow is the most dangerous, violent, crime-ridden neighborhood in Johannesburg. Thousands of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe and Mozambique flood the streets and jam the squalid apartments.
To live even one day in Hillbrow is a miracle. Lawrence lived his miracle day after day, and we praised him and loved him. But Nkosi had one more miracle for him -- to bring the end of his days on this earth and a journey to the heavens where he can still guide us. We remember him always.