Here is the mugging story in English.
I’m writing this post to stop a few rumours that have been going around and to keep the truth intact. Also, this is to inform those of you who haven’t heard (sorry, it is not a nice tale!). Luckily it has a positive ending as well as a warning…
On Saturday night 24 March 2007 after the Sêrrie-finals on TUKS I have went out with friends that I haven’t seen in a while in Hatfield Square, Pretoria. It was a very good evening, everybody was in a cheerful mood and because it has been quite some time since we all partied together we enjoyed it very much. Those of you who know me know by this time that I enjoy a beer on its time, but that i have learned long ago to behave myself. This night was no exception.
Just to give a bit of context: the men’s residences is about 1.2 km from campus and about 1.7 km from the Square, depending what road you take. If you pace yourself, it takes about 15 minutes from the entrance to the Square to our res. This is if you take South Street till Duncan and turn from Duncan into Duxbury Road until you get Lunnon Road, which enters the men’s residence grounds. In Duxbury you pass a Girl’s school, St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls. This is a relative safe street, not exactly what you would call an alley. This is a route that we (most of the male students residing in residences) have walked many times in our lives before.
A week and a half before I was in an accident with my bakkie. Nobody got hurt and my bakkie only suffered bodily damage, but it was in such a condition that I wasn’t able to drive it. That is why I had to walk that particular night to campus for the Sêrrie-finals, after which I went to the Square. That is really close to campus and you can get there by walking across campus.
So we were partying in front of Cheeky Monkey that night and later on in Chillies. Because I still had a Dogmatics exam the Monday thereafter, at about 00h30 I called it a night. I only had three beers, but still decided to get myself a cheese&ham pie from the Sasol garage in Duncanstreet. With the pie in one hand and my cellphone in the other I walked on. Now I know that that was most probably not the smartest thing to do. So, lesson number one: don’t walk around late at night alone while smsing or mxit-ing!
Last year I was mugged in broad daylight on my way back to the commune where I stayed at the time and therefore I was cautious of people walking behind me. So when I heard people behind me on that night again, I let them pass, about at the gate of St Mary’s. I didn’t concentrate on how far the three black guys that walked passed me went forward. Some distance in front of them there were two other black guys, one that I recognized from my residence where he is a first year.
As I was walking along and sms-ing, I was suddenly stopped by a hand coming from the front. My blood chilled in my veins, literally, because the previous mugging flashed through my head. And then the first guy said the fearde words:
“Hey, I want your phone!”
I know some people have laughed when I told them my reaction, but what else could I do? This would have been the second time I got mugged and when things happen so suddenly you react instinctively. So I shouted:
The next few things happened so quickly that I wonder how I remember it all, but I guess now it is that thing where your brain slows down the things around you to give you time to react (I learnedsome of it when I was doing my gun’s license).
With me shouting “No!” the guy in front pulled out a knife. I thought, fine, I’ll give you my phone, but before I could do anything, I already felt how the one guy that came and stand behind me stabbed me with a knife in the back. I screamed out and as I was falling to my knees, the guy that stood beside me grabbed my phone. The one in front’s eyes turned very wild and then they turned and ran away with haste.
For a few minutes (minutes? moments? I don’t know how long) I just sat there, in shock, on the sidewalk at the bend of the road on my knees. I couldn’t believe what just happened to me. Not only did I got robbed (again) of my cell phone in a violent way – this time the people who did it, was willing to hurt me, kill me for it…just to steal my cell phone. I mean, how do you do it? How can you just decide, without any reason: tonight I’m going to take this person’s belongings for me and while were at it, his life too, to accomplish my goal. How can anybody think that way???
I realised that I couldn’t stay there and that i can phone nobody. Luckily the entrance to the men’s residences was about 200m from there and with my hand on my back I got up and staggered towards it. The first year from my res, Abraham, then stopped. I asked them to help me get to res. They said that they heard me screaming, but they didn’t want to go closer.
At res I entered the bottom corridor and knocked at the first door I hoped would help me. I knew that my back was bleeding and that someone’s got to take me to the hospital. The guys from across the hall came out and as I knew them too, they took me to Little Company of Mary in Groenkloof, Pretoria. From shock and adrenaline I got sick. At the hospital the doctor cleaned my wound calmly and put my fears about HIV/Aids to rest, dosed me with Tetanus and closed the wound up with 4 stitches.We the went back to res.
The next day I went to buy myself some pain killers, but didn’t get any antibiotics because you need a prescription for them. Later the day my aunt suggested that I see their house doctor to get some from him. Everything was fine that Sunday and I even got to study a bit.
By the evening the news already spread like a bush fire and at church I just had to tell the story the whole time. The short version of it. During the service I became dizzy and tired again and I knew all was not fine. Afterwards me and twoo friends went to get some notes for the exam. There I began to feel really bad and started to get headaches. We the decided that I would not write the following day, but rather on the day of the re-exams.
The next morning I thought I’m dying. When I lied down I was fine, but as soon as I got up, the back of my head started to ache so badly that it literally pulled me down again. I couldn’t stay up straight and phoned my aunt for the appointment with their doctor. Later we went there and he, Dr Etienne Lubbe, called a friend of his. They then decided that the best thing would be for me to see a neuro surgeon. So, back to Little Company of Mary we went. There I saw Dr Gurnell who suggested that he draw some of my marrow for tests and that I stay in hospital for 2 days of observation. (That was the first time I was admitted to the hospital, not the 3rd time like some of the rumours say!).
I was then admitted to the hospital and got a lumbal puncture the evening. It really is as bad as the people are saying it is! The tests came back the following morning and everything said that my marrow is clean. Then I just stayed in hospital for the following 2 days while I got my antibiotics from a drip. Wednesday 28 March I was released from hospital. And yes, the Saturday morning following we went on the Kalahari Concert Tour from NG Universiteitsoord (of which Annelie Bouwer and I were the Tour Leaders)…
So, please learn that:
You can’t walk around alone in South Africa even if you know the road
You should not be walking while sms-ing on your phone – rather stay aware of your surroundings
Your attackers are not necessarily hobo’s or scummy people – my attackers were well-dressed like any other student
My stitches are out and the wound is healed fine. Sometimes my back still hurts if I slept badly or lied down in a funny position, but other than that everything is under control. The spiritual shots I took are better already, but the emotional healing is probably going to take longer. It is difficult for me to trust (black) people behind my back. Excuse me, but the two times I got mugged, it wasn’t by white people…