This year has been quite incredible. I’ve probably written a maximum of 10 blog posts and it’s not because I’m losing interest, it’s literally because I have not been able to get to it! I’ve been busy with my photography business and then, since my last blog post of ‘closing a chapter and starting a new one,’ our life has been on a whole new level of intensity. I’m hesitant to say that I look forward to seeing the back of this year. Despite all that has happened, I feel that this year has been a massive year of personal growth and that ‘good’ will come out of it. This second half of this year has been mindbogglingly tumultuous, tragic with profound loss of good human life, surprising and shocking, exciting, defining, enraging but most importantly – strengthening. We are coming to the end of a very difficult year, and just as I thought that we’d reached the end of this challenging time, more came, relentlessly.
To start, our community lost a very special family of 4. They were good solid people. The Sitholes. That was their name. They were killed in an accident by a porsche that was speeding – all of them swiftly wiped out by one reckless man. My daughter lost her best friend, Shalom – who was 10 years old. I pulled out her pink teddy bear out of the wreck of that car, the last heart breaking evidence of a life taken too soon. My niece lost her best friend, Shakeinah- who was 5 years old. We lost a couple who were committed, resilient and loving family people, who had overcome the struggle of Zimbabwe, who had started again numerous times and had a bright future ahead of them. Their good lives were ended by one person. That person is also dead, as well as his own family who were travelling with him.
While this was all being processed, there has been work. So much of it that a 6 hour sleep per night is good. That time when my husband and I seem like strangers in our house, both understanding what this time is and that it will pass. But first we must get through it. With vitamin B concoctions, energy drinks and a lot of caffeine, we soldier on. In this time, my husband especially, has sailed a ship through the stormiest of seas. Though it’s been difficult, he has learned so much and defined a very clear path ahead. Both of us are now at the point of being able to define what ‘now‘ is, what we want and what we must do to get it.
Then there has been my parents. 6 years ago, they were attacked and tortured on their farm. They lived, unlike so many other people who have died in South African farm attacks. It was a straight forward case with solid witnesses, good lawyers and good evidence. But in 6 years, it only went to court this last Monday. The suspects are on bail, doing as they please, going where they choose. Since their bail, a warder has been murdered . 1 of them has been charged with his murder and is in jail for that. But had this case happened when it should have, that warder, that family man, that human being would still be alive. I wonder what his name was and who his family is? How are they today? He shouldn’t just be a statistic. That man died because of a system, because evil has been allowed to prevail over good. Here, it seems that the law protects the criminal and not the victim. I remember so clearly standing outside the court room with my mother and some of our family. We had to wait with the ‘accused.’ While we waited for a number of hours with the people that had attacked and attempted to kill my parents 6 years ago, they glared at us with only one intention, to intimidate.
It went to court, finally. It was meant to got to court on Thursday, but due to bad weather and no generator at the court, they were concerned the bad KZN weather would hinder the recording, so they delayed it yet again. It was no longer surprising. Everyone involved in this case is accustomed to ‘delays.’ 6 years of delays. 6 years of various excuses. It happened so often that it became normal. How is it that it is normal? Why is it normal?
It is not normal. It is a justice system failed.
After 6 years, it was going well. My mother had not been called into court that day because they had a solid witness. The trial had finally begun and it went on all day. Come the afternoon, they ‘wrapped up’ the day and the well known and experienced advocate, Addelaide Watt believed she would be going home. But she didn’t go home. She was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, bleeding profusely. She was shot at close range by the gun that had had a bullet in it and that had been used as evidence during the court. The trigger was released and the bullet hit her in the thigh. Addelaide Watt died that night. A life gone. Another life gone because of this case.
I’m angry. I’m angry that innocent lives have been taken. I’m angry that good people have lost their lives unnecessarily. I’m angry that the system has protected perpetrators and bullies and when people behave badly, we allow them to, we do not stand up to them. They hide behind religion, they hide behind the law, they hide behind politics, they entrench themselves in our communities, slithering around in the shadows and they use anything they know they can manipulate you with. These criminals carry on because we allow them to. We do not stand up to them. I’m so sick of it.
How often do we read about bullies? How often do we know about them and we turn a blind eye? Isn’t this what our system is? It’s more concerned with not offending, with giving people the benefit of the doubt, with turning a blind eye because, well, we’ve just got enough drama of our own? We let these people continue right in front of us and we do nothing. What tragedy will be next because we turned a blind eye?