Another Day in South Africa

 (Very) short stories on true everyday events in this damn country

Somewhere in 90s

My Grandmother’s brother tied up in his home after losing a fight against three robbers.

2010

Someone breaking into my uncle’s home, clubbing his labrador to death.

2012

My friend and I (both 16 at the time) mugged along the road, held at knife-point while they took our phones.

2016

Someone smashing my friend’s car window, hitting him in the head, taking his stuff.

At our residence people’s cars were broken into three times.

February 2017

People broke into my friend’s home at night, taking everything.

Someone stole my pensioner grandfather’s car battery out of the car. Arguably the thief waited for us to go buy a battery so he could take the car. I waited while my grandfather bought a battery. The store owner where he bought it ripped him off, suspiciously.

Me and my best friend held at knife point to hand over money.

April 2017

Someone breaking into my car, leaving a hole in my car door and a gap where the radio used to be. Oh and the spare wheel and GPS are gone.

June 2017

Two people broke into my uncle’s friend’s house, tying up his family and taking everything. The whole night long his 18 year old daughter was asking them, repeatedly, when they will shoot her.

 

Other events

I’ve heard about a number of farm murders the last few weeks. Usually the family members are tortured to death. This is an epidemic.

 

 

I’m a Wannabe

“Describe yourself in one word”.

Mmm… It would either be “Christian” or “Wannabe”.

“Wannabe” as in “I think I am smart, but I’m not. I think I know so much, but I don’t. Astronomy is an interest of mine, but really I don’t know anything about it. I consider my self educated in politics and philosophy, but really I’m a fool.”

Honestly, I am. I had like one semester of philosophy, the politics I study is pathetic in its content, the astronomy “interest” of mine is based on knowledge I learned from children’s books and youtube videos, etc.

But oh wow I am so smart! I am so intelligent, wise, humble and good!

And then I read Romans and I am crushed. Or I read C. S. Lewis and I touch a depth of soul and knowledge I can only dream of. Or I read of Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla and I feel like a pathetic school boy.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

On Beautiful Things – George MacDonald

From the book At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald

‘Well, please, North Wind, you are so beautiful, I am quite ready to go with you.’
 
‘You must not be ready to go with everything beautiful all at once, Diamond.’
 
‘But what’s beautiful can’t be bad. You’re not bad, North Wind?’
 
‘No; I’m not bad. But sometimes beautiful things grow bad by doing bad, and it takes some time for their badness to spoil their beauty. So little boys may be mistaken if they go after things because they are beautiful.’
 
‘Well, I will go with you because you are beautiful and good too.’
 
‘Ah, but there’s another thing, Diamond:- What if I should look ugly without being bad – look ugly myself because I am making ugly things beautiful? – What then?’

When is it Just to Kill?

I understand murder to be the taking of an innocent life without just cause. Shooting down a hijacked plane which would otherwise crash into a building would classify as just cause. Aborting a baby because it has some cancer which will kill both him and his mother is just cause. Killing German soldiers to rescue Jews during WW2, even if they don’t participate in any torture, is just cause.

But what about more domestic cases? I watched two films this year which made me really consider this.

I don’t know the name of the first one, though I hope someone can tell me what it is. It concerns a husband and wife adopting two boys. They were very abusive to the children. They always viewed the older boy with suspicion, limiting his freedom, verbally and physically abusing him, downgrading him and eventually sending him off to live under other parents. In the meantime the younger one, though he loved his brother, was mostly respected, though also controlled. After the older one was sent away, they adopted a new child. Then they started treating the second child, the one who watched his brother being beaten, with the same disrespect, abuse and control as the first. Every aspect of his life was being determined by them, with constant psychological and physical abuse.

Then this boy had to make a choice: he could either leave his foster parents like the older child, or… You see if he leaves, then he leaves his now younger, innocent brother to the same curse he had: abuse and eventual replacement. He can’t just leave him. What could he do? So he murdered his foster parents.

The second film whose name I also forgot, though I think it’s something along the line of “Family Sins” concerned a mother who adopted a number of children through the years. She would abuse them, let her son and husband rape them, and teach them how to shoplift. In one case, she locked up a woman in a basement for years at night, allowing her out during the day to do chores, while psychologically convincing her that it is for her own good. That poor woman’s daughter was one of the victims of the house as well. She eventually got a child while in the house. Both she and her mother were also raped by the house woman’s husband and son. What could she do? If she leaves, no one would believe her. Everyone who wants to leave is intimidated by threats to stay. Can she leave her mother? What about her child? Eventually she took a chance, got out, and amazingly managed to convict them by getting former victims to confess in court.

At one point in the film her brother was tied up and beaten by the woman and her son, with the intention of killing him, because he wanted to leave. The girl who got out eventually saw this and managed to convince them to leave him alone. At that moment I thought: “I would not hesitate to take a blunt object, knock out the son and kill the woman right there and then. They can lock me up, at least we’re free”. Would that have been fair? Would that have been just? Later in the movie while the woman is sitting in jail before the court case, they show how she already controlled a number of inmates whom she allowed to beat up her daughter locked up with her. If this woman was sent to prison, wouldn’t she be a bad influence in there as well? What, then? Solitary confinement?

She was eventually sentenced to thirty years. Her son and husband were sentenced for less. Is that just? Wouldn’t it have been just to kill those three? Or to execute them? Would that have been just?

You and Your Friends

You know, the part of me that cares for you want you to have many friends. But another part of me that cares for you don’t want you to have so many friends.

“Ah, she’s going through a hard time. Maybe I should cheer her up.”

Then later:

“No, look at all those damn friends she’s got! Hundreds of nominal ones on Facebook, tagging people left, right and center. She knows everybody at her residence, being always active there. Each time I walk her there, she greets tonnes of people. She doesn’t need me.”

Do you know how much it bothered me a while ago how everyone has got so many friends, while I’m mostly stuck on my own? I got two or three great ones at home, but not here. Yet I’ve seen what people like you do. You have all those friends, yet when the shit hits the fan it seems as though I’m one of those few whom you actually rely on.

Why do people do this? Everybody seems so friendly and outgoing, yet eventually I always find them to be lonelier than I.

This happened before: someone with so many friends asking me for my help when things get difficult. I’m not prideful. Like I said, to a degree I’m glad they have so many. Yet why do you come to me? Can’t any of your hundreds of friends help you? Why me?

No, Girl, You’re Not Beautiful

You’re not. Or are you?

A few years back I was graduating from High School and, of course, we had a graduation event at some random restaurant. Every single girl from our grade was there. And not a single one was pretty. You know why? Because they physically looked so darn plastic.

That make-up. That dark eye-shadow. That white stuff on your face. That lipstick which looks like paint. That dress which takes up a whole room. How the hell is that pretty?

Damn it! The most beautiful girls are those in a jean and a nice shirt. Those whose only “make-up” is having lively, clean hair, a smiling face and a radiant personality. That is beautiful.

Blind Christians and Saving an Atheist

I sometimes speak of this Christian society I used to go to. The post I spoke about it the most recently is this one. If you have time, look at it first. But it’s not vital for this post.

So earlier this a year a friend of mine in my politics class read an allegory by Friedrich Nietzsche. He did this as part of a philosophy assignment he had. This allegory really bothered him. It is about men having killed God. Look it up.

For a few days I could see him really wrestle with his own soul as he was in the difficult position of having to give up a belief in God. He was never a “born again” Christian, but he nonetheless went to a superficial church and believed in God.

I can only imagine what that must feel like. To accept the supposed reality that you are all that you are. And the impact this must have on a believing family. The emotional turmoil. I had a deep sense of empathy for him.

While he was in the process of doubt we spoke about God and the Bible and I gave him a few videos to watch, mostly testimonies and a debate or two. Recently I also lend him a book.

But all of this is very shallow. I cannot just lent him a book or tell him to watch a few videos and expect him to become a Christian. No. If I honestly want to help, I should take in interest in him and in his interests. So I started watching debates by Christopher Hitchens and I’m busy with one by Sam Harris. All of this, the videos I recommended and those of Hitchens and Harris are more philosophical and ethical.

But this week I was wondering what exactly caused him to lose his faith. I was under the impression that it was philosophy, hence I watched these videos and read C. S. Lewis and Chesterton and was planning on reading Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche.

Then yesterday happened.

After class as we walked to his car, he talked about evolution. About how a lot disciplines draw from it and that those disciplines in themselves prove it. He also talked about how it allows biologists to make predictions and progress – for instance in vaccines – by using evolution as their lens. He said a lot more than this. We talked for probably half an hour, but most of it was me listening to him.

I did not have any answers for two reasons. Firstly, a few years ago I shut down my interest in the creation/evolution debate. Back then it seemed like a bunch of highly intelligent people with doctors’ degrees disagreeing, both highly educated Christians and atheists. What sense do I have to think that I can discover the truth for myself when these highly educated people cannot even agree? Also, I saw this debate as incredibly diverse: I would have to be an expert on biology and astronomy and physics and religion and geology and and and. Otherwise if I am only an expert on one,  I would have to believe those who are experts on the other topics. While I’m writing this I realise this to still be a valid point. Even evolutionists still have to take the words of their comrades on faith.

Secondly, I thought he was doubting God for philosophical or ethical reasons. Although he did mention evolution before, I did not suspect it to be the main factor. I did not expect someone studying politics and having philosophy as an additional module would be convinced of atheism by biology, a subject not at all in the humanities. He did research it, but still as I’m writing this I can’t help but doubt the seriousness of his self-study. But what the hell, he looked seriously at evolution and I have not yet. So I’ll give him that.

So I was rather pathetic in my questions. Only later on did I think of one or two things which I should have said. But hindsight is an exact science.

What worsened all of this was my own doubts about the earth being young. You see, a few years back Kent Hovind and his videos made an immense influence on me. Knowledge of his videos are perfect for the discussion on evolution, and I’ve watched them countless times. What held me back was the age of the videos, being more than a decade old. I hoped that Kent Hovind would catch up with the last ten years of research and make new videos, but it doesn’t seem as though he does. Because of this I was beginning to doubt the narrative of a young age. And I know that to accept and old earth is to invite a lot of problems.

Thus, when this friend of mine mentioned biology and the age of the earth and how Christians reinterpreting a six-day creation are compromising, I had to agree. There is to be no compromise. My own doubts prevented me from defending the young earth theory.

All in all I guess to him I seemed clueless, with good reason.

As I was walking to my flat shaken with this defeat I passed by the church where this previous Christian society of mine gathers at certain times. I left it a few months ago for other reasons which I think I explained in the post I referenced in the beginning of this one. If I didn’t, I’ll explain it in another post.

As I walked by I had a flashback of two events concerning this fellowship. The first time I went there I met a lot of new people. On that day I mentioned Kent Hovind’s videos to one of them. That guy brushed Hovind off as a “doing christian”. You know, a kind of Christian who actually DOES something. They think he believes in some kind of works salvation which is absolutely not true. It was the way he simply brushed off this whole young earth thing which bothered me.

A few months later I was talking to one of the friends I made in this fellowship but has since gone to another campus. When I talked about how amazing it is that God can be proved in science, philosophy, theology, history and a lot of other topics – in other words, that one does not have to have blind faith – he told me of a time when he was arguing with a nonbeliever who kept asking for proof of God’s existence. This friend of mine simply kept telling the man that he has to accept Christ. My friend, and this whole fellowship, sees philosophy and all the different kinds of debates on Christianity, as mere distractions from Christ himself. I consider this extremely narrow.

When I passed the church I thought by myself: If this christian-turned atheist friend of mine were to go to this fellowship in seek of answers, they would have given him nothing. They would have had no answers and they would have strengthened his belief that Christianity is rationally indefensible. Their narrowness and blindness would not have saved the soul of my friend.

So as I passed by that church I paused and looked at it. With a very strong anger I said in a rather too loud voice, “Damn you”.

 

Irritated Lately

The last few weeks or months I’ve been extremely passive aggressive, bitter and all round irritated at people.

Small things bother me. Anything taking me away from my comfort zone. For instance, the Braai Friend of mine invited me to sleepover at his house this weekend.

Next week my classes begin again. I am not in the mood to spend my last night of freedom at someone else’s home.

You see this is what bothers me: At home it is basically me and my mother. My mother does not have friends and she is extremely attached to me and my sister. Too much. For instance yesterday while I played a game online with the Braai Friend she sat in my room for a few seconds and when I gestured to her that I want to know why she’s here, she just said that she misses me. I mean hell. I’m in the same house and she misses me.

Or even when she’s is working or when my sister is at home I don’t like leaving the house. I do not like forsaking my pets and my own sweet solitude (in which I watch movies, walk the dog or play my music as loud as I please) to entertain others while they are comfy.

What bothers me is that my friends never consider this. The Braai Friend has a mother and stepdad and oftentimes his sister or stepsisters will visit.

The other friend, the True Friend, is basically the same: Two brothers and a cleaner is almost always at home. And at nights so is his father. He can leave anytime and not leave anyone alone.

Then also my grandparents whom I love dearly: oftentimes in holidays like these they will pick me up and expect me to stay the whole day (they live less than a kilometer away). They are at home where they are at ease. Where they make coffee or watch TV. They will then drag me alone to a bunch of shops and crap.

I did not ask for this.

It is always, with both my friends and my grandparents the same: “If you have time, you have to come over. If you say no, I will take offense. If you leave early, I want a reason”.

That I want to be alone is, for them, inconceivable and offensive.

Why?

I want to have my cake and eat it too: I want everybody to just leave me the hell alone yet still be there when I need them.

Yes. I will die without socialising if I’m alone for two days or more. But I don’t appreciate people manipulating my emotions like this. They manipulate it because I’m constantly analyzing my actions on them. I know how they will react if I refuse to come over. Therefore the selfless thing to do is to do what they want.

If I, for once, do what I want, then I feel guilty.

I hate this.

Calling Evil Good (short and sweet)

(All of this within the right context, of course)
 
If you say downloaded, you mean stole
If you say procrastination, you mean laziness
If you say misinformed, you mean lied
If you say choice, you mean irresponsibility
If you say sexual assault, you mean rape
If you say martyrdom, you mean murder
If you say religion, you mean Jesus

My VF+ Ervaring – Part 1

Soos meeste van julle weet is daar so iets soos die VF+, die Vreiheids Front. Hulle is nie naastenby so influensieel soos hulle was nie, maar hulle het nog ‘n naam. Veral onder Afrikaners.

Nou die afgelope jaar of twee het ek meer geïntereseerd geraak in hulle. Jy sien ek studeer politiek (eintlik internasionale politiek) en na ‘n semester van dit laas jaar het ek besef wat eintlik obvious is: die idee van verkiesings in Suid Afrika is nie om te wen nie, maar verteenwoordiging. As ‘n tiende van die land glo dis verkeerd om skoene te dra, dan sal die Geen Skoen party ‘n 10de van die parlement besit. Dis net so. Hulle wil nie wen nie. Hulle wil net hulle stem laat gehoor word.

So hiers ek. ‘n Hergebore Christen met konserwatiewe waardes: onder andere, pro-life, tradisionele huwelike en ‘n oop mark ekonomie (alhoewel ek erken ek ken nog bitter min ekonomie).

So die obvious party vir my is die VF+, alhoewel ek ook begin dink het aan daai ACDP, African Christian Democratic Party. Ek het gekyk na die VF se beleid op hulle website, die dinge wat hulle in glo – veral dat hulle ook in teorie vir Christen waardes is – en ek het ‘n paar videos op Youtube van hulle opgesoek.

Hulle het professioneel en oortuigend voorgekom. Geen rassisme nie. Net feite. Dis net al daai ander partye wat die VF van rasisme beskuldig, ne?

Nou op my universiteits kampus is daar geen VF verteenwoordiging nie. Hulle was daar, toe verdwyn hulle of iets ‘n hele klomp jaar gelede. Maar so ‘n maand of wat gelede het ‘n student wie ek ken wat die VF op ons kampus wil stig, kom ons noem hom VF Man, my gekontak en gevra of ek wil deelwees daarvan. Hyt seker my pro-VF posts op Facebook gesien.

Ek het gesê ek sal wil deelneem op twee voorwaardes: 1) Ek gaan eers daaroor bid en 2) Ek gaan nie in die party iets doen wat deen my waardes is nie.

Jy sien, die hoogste gesag in my lewe is Jesus en sy Woord. Ek sal nie wat hy sê buig voor die altar van ‘n onpersoonlike en, wel, onbelangrike party nie.

Dinsdag het een van die amptelike VF lede wat ons kampus afdeling wil stig, kom ons noem hom Bel Ou, my gekontak en gevra dat ek uitvind by spesifieke gebou wat dit behels om ‘n party te stig op kampus, asook om te sien wat ons kan doen daardie week om die VF te bemark.

Ek het ja gesê. Nou ek was besig op die oomblik, so iemand anders het solank navraag gedoen oor dit. Kom ons noem hom Random VF Ou. Toe ek klaar was het ek hom ge-join om uit te vind wat aangaan. Ek het gekyk na die vorms wat sê wat ons moet doen. In tussentyd het hy gaan hoor oor die afsluitings datum van nuwe organisasies asook die relings vir daai week, ‘n klomp organisies sou ‘n dag daardie week hulle goed bemark.

Toe hy klaar was het hy basies gesê dat die afsluitings datum geskuif is en dat ons op kampus mag bemark, solank ons nie op ‘n sekere plek is nie. Min of meer so iets. Hy was vaag oor dit.

So toe kom daai dag. Ek het geloop om van die VF lede wat sou uithelp te gaan ontmoet asook die ou wat my gekontak het en die ou wat my oorspronklik genooi het om aan die VF deel te neem. Hulle het ‘n tafel en ‘n bankie gehad en toe ry ons.

N0u hierso begin dit.

Toe ons wou parkeer op die kampus grond was daar nie veel plek nie. Van die plekke wat oop was het van daai oranje kegel goed gehad. Seker om die parkeerplek te reserveer vir iemand. Bel Ou het toe vir VF Man gesê om die kegel weg te vat. Ek het gedink dat dit regtig lelik was van hom. Sy hele attitude van hierdie kegel was een van konfrontasie amper. Hyt nie respek vir die universiteit nie.

Na ‘n wag aangekom het en ons gewys het waar ons kon parkeer, het ons buite gestaan en gewag vir die res. Daarso het ek begin wonder oor of ons gereel het met die universiteit om daar te wees. Een ou het gesê hy weet nie en Random VF Ou het gesê dat dit afhang hoe jy daarna kyk. Nogal vaag.

Anyway terwyl ons daar wag het VF Man ietsie komedies gedoen, toe sê Bel Ou in ‘n lighartige manier vir hom, “Gedra jou soos ‘n wit mens”. Rassisme? Eks nie heeltemal verbaas nie, maar ek het beter verwag. Ek meen hy is deel van die amptelike VF party wat ons nou help (?) om ‘n VF tak by ons te stig.

Ons het toe uiteindelik als opgeslaan en reg gepak. Voordat ek myself verkoop het deur my VF+ hemp wat hulle vir my gegee het aan te trek het ek gehoor by Bel Ou of ons nou actually permisie het om hier te wees. En raai wat sê hy. Hy sê EK het dit mos gereel.

WAT DE F*K? Jammer, eks nie ‘n ou wat vloek nie. So ek los maar daai *. Ek het net nie ‘n ander woord vir hoe ek gevoel het nie. Daars so baie dinge verkeerd met dit. Waar begin ek? Nommer een: Ek moes NAVRAAG doen. Daar was niks vir my gesê van dinge reel nie. Tweedens, Random VF Ou het gaan uitvind soos ek hierbo gesê het, nie ek nie. Derdens, toe ons daar besig was het ek en Random VF Ou op die VF+ whatsapp group vir ons kampus almal op datum gehou met wat aangaan. Al wat ek op die group gesê het was dat dit bitter moeilik sal wees om ‘n organisasie te stig weens ‘n klomp redes, onder andere omdat die sluitings datum vir nuwe organisasies daardie week was. Maar daarna het Random VF Ou als uitverklaar en gehoor dat die datum geskuif is. Laastens, ek het gedink dat Bel Ou, of wie de hel okal die leier is, sulke goed eers sal CONFIRM voor hy aksie neem.

Hierdie gebrek aan leierskap en organisasie is pateties. Absoluut pateties.

Anyway, ons het toe reg gemaak om nou mense te vra om te join. Die VF (of miskien net Bel Ou) het ‘n paar pamflette geprint. Pamflette wat NET in Afrikaans is. Ek meen come on. Hierdie universiteit is nie net Afrikaans nie. Dis so verdom uitsluitend om net Afrikaanse pamflette gee. Soos wat de hel?

Hulle het darem die fout agtergekom en gou Engelses gaan print. Hoe onnosel. Hoe maak jy so ‘n verdomde fout?!

Wat dit erger maak is dat die VF hulleself ge-rebrand het as nie net ‘n party vir Afrikaners nie, maar ‘n party vir alle minderhede. Dis een van die dinge wat my na hulle toe aangelok het. Okay granted, die kleurling minderheid is ook meestal Afrikaans. Maar wat van die ander?

Na ons so ‘n uur of wat besig was het ek vir VF Man gesê dat ek moet gaan. Daardie dag moes ek nog ‘n helse Geloofstudies taak oor Secularism doen. Maar dis effens van die punt af. Die punt is ek het ‘n verskoning gehad om te gaan.

Na so uur of wat by die flat het VF Man my gebel. Hyt gesê dat hulle weggejaag is omdat hulle nie geregistreerd is nie. Toe vra hy of ek vir dit gereel het. Toe sê ek vir hom dat Random VF Ou gaan uitvind het.

Jinne tog. So ek moes dit reel? Waar de hel kom hy aan dit? Maar anyway VF Man het dit opgeklaar met Random VF Ou.

En dis die einde van wat sover gebeur het. Maar ek wil nog ‘n paar goed sê. Iets oor die Here en iets oor die party.

Die Here eerste. Hierdie is effens van die punt af. Ek het gesê dat ek ‘n hergebore Christen is. Nou ek het agtergekom deur die jare hoe die Here my weghou van erge situasies. Meer as wat hy ander mense weghou. Ek weet nie hoekom nie. Soos ek moes op ‘n plek wees dan is ek nie. Byvoorbeeld ‘n tydjie terug was daar ‘n geveg tussen twee organisasies hierso. Ek wou graag ‘n kant vat. Maar elke keer wat daar ‘n optog is, is ek of te laat, of te vroeg weg, of ek het nie klas nie. Daar was tye wat ek WOU GAAN en dan keer iets my. Elke liewe keer. Asof Hy my weghou. En hierdie was nie die enigste geval nie. Ek kom dit al agter vir jare in ‘n klomp situasies.

Dalk voel die Here dat Hy my moet veilig hou of weghou vir een of ander rede. Ek weet nie. Ek voel net ek moet hom die due gee, selfs in hierdie post oor die VF+. En ek sien dieselfde het hier gebeur. Ek was bekommerd oor of ons daar mag wees. En wragties… skaars na ek weg is… daar word hulle weg gejaag. Ek was bang daar kom moeilikheid of hulle neem fotos of watokal. Ek raak paranoid oor sulke goed.

Verder, jy kom seker agter hoe ek nou en dan ‘n paar Engelse woorde ingooi. Ek gee nie om nie. Om myself te dwing om nou te praat soos ek nie praat nie, net omdat ek ‘n Afrikaanse post skryf of semi deel is van die VF, sal oneerlik teenoor myself wees.

Laastens, moenie dink dat ek die VF+ noodwendig gaan los nie. Hierdie event was insiggewend om die minste te sê. Ek meen ek hou nog van die party se prinsiepe oor die algemeen. Maar tog… die ANC is ook goed in prinsiep. Maar dit beteken niks in praktyk nie.

Ek bedoel net ek weet nie watse kant toe om te gaan nie. Miskien kan ek vrae vra vir hierdie Bel Ou en myself duidelik maak? Miskien moet ek ‘n brief stuur aan die VF+ leiers self. Dalk Kobus Mulder. Net om te sien hoe hy voel oor sekere goed. Ek weet nie. Dalk weet jy. As jy idees het, los dit in die comments.

Ek noem hierdie post Part 1, want obviously is hierdie saga nog nie verby nie.

Dankie vir jou tyd en raad.