Suffer the Children

In the next few days much will be said about the abduction and murderĀ of Jayde Panayiotou, whilst we are all still reeling from the recent (ongoing??) Xenophobic attacks, load-shedding, The Fall of Rhodes etcetera etcetera etcereta. (Yes, I wrote those out on purpose. The list is long)

Everyone’s double-checking their locks and alarm systems at night. Women, especially, will be even more alert when leaving their homes. Facebook updates and comment streams are riddled with “I don’t want to be in SA anymore”.

What is happening here is creating a collective angst. Many people (myself included) wonder: when will I become a statistic. When will *I* become a victim.*

That’s all good and well, and we will mostly agree that this is a really difficult time for our country, that many of us simply cannot see a positive end to, but let’s think for a minute how this impacts our children.

We will not let our kids set foot outside the front gate unaccompanied. They are not allowed to walk down to the park by themselves. Or play there unobserved. Or play in the streets until it gets dark. They cannot walk in a shopping mall unaccompanied. They cannot walk to school by themselves. I hate sending my son into a public mensroom by himself. HATE.

We think we are teaching them to be independent when, in fact, we are teaching them fear. Fear of the unknown, intense fear of the Bogeyman (and not the healthy kind either). I don’t think we are able to teach them basic confidence in being able to do things for themselves. In how to conduct themselves beyond our fences and our protective arms.

They hear us talking about Zuma. They ask us why Zuma is President if he doesn’t take care of our country, Mommy? What can you say? We cannot hide everything from them, they look over our shoulders when we read the news and scroll through Facebook, they see the headlines in the Community Newspaper that comes on a Wednesday. We cannot isolate them from all bad news, but where do you draw the line?

There are only so many cute cat videos you can show them so they hopefully forget that Mommy laughed hysterically in the kitchen the night of SONA 2015.

There are only so many happy stories you can tell them about your own childhood without them wondering how their lives ended up so differently.

There are only so many times you promise them that the angry-looking man walking past your house you take a photo of whilst desperately trying to usher kids and bags into the house in the afternoon is really just walking past. Only to see his photo on your local Community Policing FB page the very next morning.

We are liars and our kids aren’t stupid.

And this will all just come back and bite us in the ass.

That is all.

*I’m almost too afraid to say that out loud. We don’t want to tempt fate, now do we?

The night someone threw a rock at my car

My Dad (bless him, I love him to distraction) is forever sending me emails about how we are all going to be killed in our sleep, how margarine is actually plastic and those random stories of scary strange things that happen to people. I usually scan through these mails, but don’t really take them seriously.

Until Saturday night.

He recently sent me an email about the modus operandi of guys that walk in the middle of the road just outside Meerendal at night and how they basically force people off the road, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I did find the location a bit close to home though. When I see these things I always think in my head ‘how stupid are these people, why do they slow down?’

Well. On Saturday night we were visiting friends in Melkbos and I was on drive duty. I knew I was good to drive and we smugly drove past the roadblock that was set up on the other side of the N7 for traffic going towards Malmesbury. I’m comfortable driving at night as I did so for a long long time when I was working shifts in the hotel industry. I regard myself as a pretty good driver and I’m confident on the road.

As we approached the Durbanville/Table View turnoff, just where the street lights begin, there was a car pulled off on the left shoulder of the 2 lane road. There were 2 guys that looked like they were crossing the highway and we saw them and commented on how someone was going to run them over. I kept an eye on them and they made me nervous so guess what I did?

I slowed down.

As we got closer the one guy ducked and the other guy, in the middle of the right-hand line threw something at my car that went DOOF on my bonnet, but because my Dad has drilled it into me my entire life that you never ever stop if you aren’t sure, I accelerated and kept going.

Etienne and I were SO shocked, it took us a couple of minutes to really comprehend that some asshole threw a rock at our car. We couldn’t believe it. All I know is that, if I was going any faster that rock would have been through the windscreen of the car.

The kids were asleep in the back of the car and I didn’t scream or anything, so they slept through the whole thing and know nothing about it, but still.

By the time we got home I had a little bit of the shakes, but mostly I was really, really pissed off. There’s quite a ding in the bonnet so it must have been quite a rock.

How dare some idiot fuck around on a highway in the middle of the night and endanger the lives of 5 people, 3 of which are MY children?

How dare they?

Ps. I tweeted Helen Zille last night asking who I could contact and she put me in contact with someone whom I am now in conversation with. Never underestimate the power of twitter