Hubby phoned his mom last night for the first time in a while and she told him father-in-law had been hijacked, beated up and had his bakkie (utility vehicle) stolen about 3 weeks ago. She didn't phone to tell hubby as she didn't want to worry him ... go figure the logic but you are dealing with MIL! Four armed black men hijacked him and his friend somewhere in the Bethal area in Mpumalanga at night while either on their way to or from a seniors golf meeting. They put them on the back of the bakkie, drove them around for a while and tormented them and then beat them up. So sick, so horrid ... picking on someone who is old and clearly not in good health. MIL says he is behaving strangely since then and probably needs trauma counselling. Of course he will never go.
That is the horrible thing about being here ... here we are sitting pretty in a much, much safer and more civilised country but our loved ones who remain behind are faced with the fears, stresses and anxieties of these sort of attacks and there is nothing you can do about it. I don't know how we lived like that with that permanent dread always lurking somewhere in the background. The danger is everywhere ... even in somewhere remote like Bethal of all places - not exactly the hijack capital or anything. How did we do it??? I do not want to go back there.
And then there was that horrific story on M-Web news a week ago about the 16 year old schoolgirl on a scooter in Pretoria who was hooted at incessantly by a black taxi driver. As she was moving into another lane to get out of his way, he knocked her down and then road over her, with fatal consequences. How did we live with that insanity, hatred and brutality around us all the time?? Sure, Australia isn't quite the ultra safe country I visited in the early 1990s. Crime has certainly been on the increase here over the years and the news has been pretty shocking here lately some days (see The Mints blog for a list of incidents) but it is a question of statistics ... it doesn't at all compare to the horror of day-to-day life in South Africa.