I calmly read through my day’s news RNews when the article caught my eye: “Minister robbed… they held a weapon to my head!”
Dear Minister, welcome to the reality of South African citizens’ daily lives. Welcome to the world of violence and pain. The world of crime in every corner, cape, bay, plain, grassland and mountain in our country. welcome to my world…
I am a single mother from the Northern Cape. I have to ensure safety for my three precious children every day. I am their shelter from the evil world out there. Dear Minister, how do I do this in our reality? How do I do it without bodyguards? How do I explain to my children the burglary in our house? Or the gun to my head? How do I explain the disappearance of precious possessions from our safe place because I created work? How do I explain the confinement in the small camped yard where I can see them?
How do I explain the blatant, derogatory comments? How do I explain the stranger who simply walks in in broad daylight and takes what he wants? How do I explain the multitude of locks on our door? The locking of every room just in case… The fair bed on the floor night after night…
I can not! I fail my children because our beloved country’s government has failed us. I would actually like to tell you that I am sorry for the fear you have had to go through, but…
Now you know what fear really feels like.
Now you know how cold a weapon’s barrel is against your head.
Now you know that a life means nothing.
Now you know that the uncertainty is driving you crazy.
Now you know that a sleepless night of fear exhausts you so much that sometimes you wish that trigger had been pulled.
Now you know how panic engulfs your brain.
Now you know what it feels like to have to adjust your life to process the trauma.
Now you know what it’s like to be a real South African citizen.
Welcome to our world of reality. There are no red carpets, fancy cars and bodyguards here. Here it’s just you and your fears. You and your panic. You and your hope lost self.
Maybe one day our paths will cross. Maybe then you will be able to say sorry. Maybe then you will be able to be honest and admit that our beautiful country and its people have failed. But for now we still buy locks.