Well…. what a week it’s been. I have gotten to know people in my neighbourhood that I would never have met. I know who has shotguns, who have revolvers, knobkieries, axe handles, hockey sticks, whips, pangas, paintball guns…. And any form of reason weapon.
With living down here in Pietermaritzburg, I have been a part of our larger neighbourhood coming together and creating our own vigilante roadblocks and checkpoint groups to take charge of the movement of cars and people through the area. We’ve had no choice. We have stood together, all South African groups represented, men and woman, young and old, covering two nights shifts for four nights now. And we have two to go. I’ve done the midnight to 6 am plus daytime action on Tuesday, trying to look serious with my paintball gun.
We have protected our local Spar through tree blocks on either side of the access areas, severely restricting traffic. One guy brought down his chain saw and we simply dropped trees across the road on either side, without asking anyone. We offloaded stolen goods from cars who had completed their town shopping, we turned cars around, helped pile up stolen goods at the police station, protected our local petrol station…. And made fires in the streets to help keep us going through the night.
A very old friend of mine lives in my neighbourhood. He has about 10 academic letters behind his name. I think I’m supposed to call him Doctor – but I cannot remember of what. He and I and others have already spent many hours during the dead of night, debating at large the fabric of societies in general. The merits and demerits of democracy and autocracy and the importance of an independent judiciary. Two conclusions we came to, was that Pick n Pay can retain its name but Takealot should rather change its name to Buyalot!!
It has been a very bad space for our country, on so many levels. I don’t need to tell you that. It will probably become a ‘recorded space’ in our history. Let’s just hope that some good things can come from it.