Creating a better Mzansi through sport and development
yesterday while standing in bumper to bumper traffic in the rain, five men opened my car door and and asked for my telehphone, with the added persuasiveness that they would shoot me if I didn't hand it over. As I reached for my phone, they saw my laptop uncovered and asked for that also, under the same conditions of compliance. Lastly was the brainwave that I should have a wallet, so in the end they ran of and kept my iphone, macbook and wallet. I kept my car and my life.
going to the police station to report the incident, i got over the shock, thefeeling of unfairness and the temation of racial stereotiping. After a 70 minute wait, I started telling the oficer what happened. Apparently, the incident was caught on cctv and one suspect aprehended. Ten minutes later I heard terrific screaming and slapping/hitting sounds. "that's your robber, he is now crying" said the seargent attending me. After anothe 20 minutes of shouting in theback room, a policemen in civilian clothes walked out holding 'the fanbelt': "he is now confessing". Everyone seemed very blaze about the unfolding of events. Later they brought out this suspect and I saw him crying, his jeans wet. "He has now soiled himself" came the attending officer's calm reply again.
as i was reflecting on this unusual start to my wekend, I obviously felt sorry for my attackers. I felt compassion, because society has failed these men. Sure they have free will and choice and all that self-righteous stuff the wealthy like to talk about. That might be relevant for me to think about in my context, but it does not add to understanding and explaining the unfortunate sequence of bad choices that become the lives of these 5 men. I often say noone is born a criminal, kids are born victims and they become offenders. I would now like to change tha dogma: "people are born victims and they stay victims". Even as they offend, they remain the same person that was born into poverty, violence, lack of education, lack f love, lack of roele-models, lack of opportunity... I am not the victim. After 2 days of admin, my insurance would have bought me a new phone and laptop, my bank given me a new platinum credit card. But them? Their lives will continue to be a fight for survival, a sad story of humans not knowing the feeling of dignity and fulfillment.
I think I wont mind becoming frends with them. Something to laugh about around the braaivleis fire. I dont know how I would have felt if they actually shot me. But they didn't hurt me (perhaps my ego) so to forgive was easy.
At first I felt, 'hey I dont deserve this, I'm the good guy', but shit hapens, to everyone. It aint right, but there are very real reasons why these things happen in Mzanzi- and we have to engage this- white and black, poor and rich, victim and offender, lucky and unlucky.