For two days in a row now I switched on my radio and listened to conversations surrounding the tragic death of Taegrin Morris. He was the four-year-old boy whose little body was dragged along the street by a moving vehicle which was speeding away from a hijacking.
I shudder at the thought of his mother watching him slip out of her hands and seeing him go through such pain and fear all at the same time. I think about the fact that she now has to pick I tiny coffin for her child who she had such big dreams for.
South Africa is a beautiful country but her ugliness creeps up far too often for us to ignore. I live in fear no matter where I am and over the past few weeks I have grown more paranoid than ever before.
One case at a time
The fact is as South Africans we mourn and we get outraged one case at a time. I blame the media which I am a part of because I am well aware that for the next month or so hijackings are going to flood the papers, especially those involving children.
We did it with Anene, we did it with Leigh Matthews and now we are doing it again with Taegrin. Crime is rife in our country and not nearly enough stories are highlighted. We are not outraged enough and when we are we hashtag and then we stop.
For days I have sat on my bed late at night trying to figure out what our society needs for brutal crimes to stop. I have no solution and all I can do is type out my thoughts and pray that someone with ideas on how to fix our social ills will read it.
My daily fears
Before I had a car I feared rape more than anything else. I would find myself looking over my shoulder every single time I walked to and from a taxi – especially early in the morning or around sunset.
My sister and I often warn one another about getting into empty taxis too, it’s not safe. People have been raped and left to die in taxis that had people in them – even women.
Now that I have a car I am careful to put my handbag in my boot and have nothing on my passenger seat. My cellphone is never in my hand at a robot nor are my doors unlocked. On the hottest nights in summer, my windows are closed and my aircon is on. I refuse to stop at robots after 9pm and I am aware that some intersections are dangerous long before that.
Just the other day next door to my boyfriend’s house the lady next door was hijacked outside her gate as she was driving out at 8am in the morning. I take different routes home every day to make sure that I am not being tailed and when I suspect I am I drive past my house to the garage and drive back when I have lost the car I was suspicious of.
For some this may be paranoia but for me it’s vigilance. I have never been a victim of crime but too many people close to me have and their incidents have left me wound up so imagine what will happen when I fall victim to a crime myself.
An unreported case
Two Mondays ago my friend called me. She was driving back home to her family. She burst into tears and said criminals broke into her house and shot her brother. They shot him for a television and two cellphones. The shot him in the chest and killed him. He was 21-years-old and he was going to graduate at the end of the year.
He was probably killed by kids nearly his age. There’s a powder in plasma TVs that they are now adding to the nyaope drug and the police said they imagine this was the reason for the break-in.
This story was not reported. This boy was at home. He was not out looking for trouble and he could not have possibly been more vigilant. There is genuinely nothing he could have done to stop these thugs from doing what they did that night.
A mother buried her son. A boy she had such high hopes for. He will never come back.
After Taegrin Morris is buried we will cry and as a nation we will be moved but once again we will carry on with our lives until the next big case is reported and we are outraged once more.