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My first armed robbery
And hopefully the last
Actually this happened eighteen months ago, already. I felt like writing about it to give you an idea of the kind of life we live here in South African. Fortunately - and I give all the glory to God - nobody was harmed. Actually when I though about it later, after I got over the initial shock, I had to chuckle about a thing or two, like the curtain-lady who was so involved in her search for curtains that she didn't even notice what was going on until it was basically over. I only realized how numb we have become to our situation when we visited my Parents and brother, who lives in Canada. It was an absolute bliss to never feel threatened.
Anyway it was a rainy, cloudy Sunday morning and we were rushing to get to the shopping center in White River for time was of the essence on that particular day. I still had so much work to do. White River is the neighboring town, about 25 kilometers from Nelspruit. It's a lot smaller, with a lot less people, so we like to rather go there instead of Nelspruit, seeing that we live smack in the middle of the two towns.
I wanted to buy stockings to make firefly-wings with and my husband had to go and buy some shirts for work ,because he had just started a new job. So off we went. Getting there I told my husband, to save time, he must go and look for shirts, so long, while I just quickly pop into a store or two to see where I could get the best price on stockings. At the third store I found what I was looking for and while I was sorting through the stockings to get the right colour, I heard a commotion, not really taking notice for we are a loud nation. As I turned around a lady with eyes as big as plates looked at me and ask if this is a robbery and I said: "I don't know". Needless to say, I then took notice and heard a man in a tan leather jacket tell another lady that this is no joke, it is a armed robbery and that all of us must please move to the back of the shop.
Although he had his hand inside his jacket, I didn't see a gun and I actually debated the idea of taking him on - verbally, but decided not to take the chance. Like good little lambs we then proceeded to the back of the shop - a few of us, I recon - praying feverishly. One thing about our criminals, they might actually stand a chance to go to heaven for nothing else than the fact that they even make unbelievers pray. Not that I am a unbeliever though. I was one of those feverishly praying people.
Arriving at the back I notice a lady looking at curtains, totally oblivious to what was happening. I tried to get her attention but because I didn't want to make too much noise, she did not hear me and only notice that something was wrong when she turned around and saw me squatting behind the shelves. She asked me what was going on and I told her. Gasping she flopped to the floor, instantly making herself as small as possible.
I started shoving our rent money and my husband's boss's credit card and other valuables into my bra and anywhere else where I hope they won't look and inbetween that I was phoning the Security Company. Here you do not bother with the Police, because if they do bother to come it can takes them anything between 5 min and 5 days, if not longer. Not worth wasting the airtime.
After I nearly had to verbally abuse and literally spell out the shops name to the operator, because I am now trying to do this as softly and inconspicious as possible, I eventually get him to understand what I am saying. But by then everything has quieted down and when we peeped over the shelves we saw that they were gone. THANK GOD! because usually they feel obliged to relieve the customers of their cellphones and cash as well. That day they were apperently in a hurry.
When we got to the front, the Security Company were already there - the advantage of a small town - and after the relevant statements were taken we continued our shopping. Apparently they got away with the previous day's takings, for this was 9:30 on a Sunday morning.
My husband though, was not as lucky when there was an armed robbery at his previous place of work. They were robbed, on a Saturday morning with guns to their heads. Now that was no joke. He was in shock for days. Other people are even less lucky. The new trend these days are, when it is a residential robbery, to drag the male victims behind a vehicle - especially when the victims stay on a farm - and rape the women. Modus operandi, to kill before they clean out your house.
A couple of weeks ago a one year old child was so severely beaten that they say she is going to be blind for the rest of her life, a miracle, alone, that she actually survived.
If our government could sort out crime as diligently as they are implementing anti-smocking laws, we would probably be the safest country in the world, because here you can murder and rape just don't smoke while your doing it!
Linvng with crime
South Africa the most dangerous country
- BBC News | TALKING POINT | Have you experienced crime in South Africa?
South Africa is the most dangerous country in the world, which is not at war. Fifteen thousand people were murdered between January and September last year. Have you experienced crime in South Africa? What can the government, and society at large, do