Sibongile Mafu

Crime costs R2.50

2014-01-03 12:38

Sibongile Mafu

A friend and I were on the way to supper when I found a guy I did not know in the passenger seat of my car. How much does crime cost?

I had just come from spending several days in the Overberg in a small town called Greyton, a mountainous, beautiful spot close to Caledon in the Western Cape.

The kind of town where you leave your doors open during the day while your cellphone charges in full sight of everything and everyone and the only crime committed against you is the vicious mosquito bites and the unrelenting love flies you have for company.

Nothing happened. You spend your days thrift shopping and horse-riding with very little thought of what could go wrong.

It’s funny how when we go on holiday, we take a holiday from everything, including things like crime. Call it holiday naivete or the sunshine beating down on you just a little too hard, causing temporary forgetfulness, but crime is something that seems very far away, you’d swear it put in the same amount of leave you did. 

I left a relaxing holiday where doors were left wide open and moved back into the city where real life continued.

The holiday was drawing to a close and an imminent trip back to the city was planned. Bags were packed and we hit the road. On arrival, we were welcomed by Sir Lowry’s pass, Somerset West and Table Mountain.

On arrival in Cape Town, we prepared to go to dinner, so we dropped my bags at my place and got ready to leave. And then the we were met by the most bizarre scene. A man was in the passenger seat of my car, as calm as can be, searching through my vehicle.

I did not know this man, and the calmness with with he was going about his business caught me off guard. There was no sense of urgency in his criminal ways and very little sense that we were in any immediate danger.

I proceeded to shout at him, in quite a motherly-like manner manner, “you, what are you doing in my car? That car is not yours.” It didn’t sound like me at all. More probing questions of what exactly he was doing in my little car proceeded, and he meekly answered, “I’m just looking for food, sis.”

I’m not exactly sure what kind of hot meal he thought he would find in my vehicle, but it was his story and he was sticking to it. He then started to walk away from us, quite calmly, and when he heard that we’d be catching him with the car, his walk turned into a bit of a jog.

We managed to reach an ADT security guard who was outside one of the houses at the time, who went off after the guy, only to go in the wrong direction. He was not the greatest of adverts for personal security.

We had to be our own ADT, and found the car burglar further along  

We again asked him the same questions: “What were you doing in a vehicle that wasn’t yours?” We threw in the word police and that when he darted off. This man who had violation my space and privacy disappeared.

We tried to look for him with no success, and carried on with our evening that had been quite rudely interrupted.

His smell still lingered in my car, and upon closer inspection we realised all he had managed to take was R2.50, an irrelevant amount when you figure that what offended me the most was not the theft but the violation of one’s property.

It can be broad daylight on a Thursday afternoon with a beautiful Cape Town backdrop after you’ve just come home from the best holiday, and crime will still happen. You’re lucky if you can laugh about it.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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