When my turn comes, dear Lord

2010-11-20 13:35

My greatest fear isn’t ­dying. It is to die in a carjacking. The fear of going to hell is the least of my worries. But going to hell with nine bullet holes as if I were American rapper 50 Cent makes my ­tummy turn.

I am chained to a lifetime of being a newspaper man, and, surely, ­nothing could be worse than that. I derive solace from believing that as sure as someone will be killed in a carjacking ­before I finish this piece, there must be a decent newspaper to work for in hell or heaven, whichever comes first.

But it is how I will die that scares the living daylights out of me.

The story of Anni Dewani chills my blood. She left her England home as a happy newlywed to honeymoon with her sweetheart in the beautiful Cape and ­returned home in a coffin – lifeless and cold.

I want to go on honeymoon in the Cape some day, God willing, and if what befell Dewani were to happen to me or my ­lovely bride, please cremate me and ­scatter my ashes in the Indian Ocean so my family won’t have to endure seeing us with gaping bullet holes. The mere thought of my little daughter seeing my ­bullet-riddled body kills me inside.

The pain poor Dewani went though must have been unimaginable. And her killing gives me nightmares. Nobody ­deserves to die like that, especially not from a carjacking.

And yet dying in a carjacking can ­happen to anyone, at any time, anywhere.

A few of my close friends have already had a brush with this evil. And my idol, slain reggae king Lucky Dube, is gone too because of a carjacking. Someone wanted the car he worked so hard to buy.

My close friend and 90s township disco diva Patricia Majalisa was hijacked a few years ago and left in the middle of the bushes south of Johannesburg. Her BMW was gone, never to be found again. At least she was lucky to live to tell her tale. Dube and Dewani weren’t so lucky.

But Majalisa still lives with the trauma of the experience at the hands of thugs who waylaid her as she drove out of her Bellevue home one evening.

Luckily, the scumbags recognised her and instead of shooting her, asked her to sing them some of her hit songs from back in the day. Traumatised and hopeless, she couldn’t even remember her own lyrics. But the worst was still to come: ­after driving around with her for what seemed like an eternity, they asked for the pin numbers to her bank card. She couldn’t even remember if she had a bank account, and if she had, what bank it was.

So they assaulted her and, realising she had gone blank, drove around with her hoping she would remember. She couldn’t. Sandwiched between two of the thugs who had made themselves passengers in the back of her car, they drove ­into a hilly area near Southgate shopping mall, stopped the car and ordered her out. For a moment she thought they would do a Lucky Dube on her but they didn’t. She was lucky.

When police finally found her, Majalisa couldn’t remember what car she drove, its registration number, nor her cellphone number. Up to today, she is scarred and scared. And so am I.

One more carjacking brings me closer to my greatest fear. When I look into ­Dewani’s eyes, I see myself. I feel her pain.

I find I connect with victims of carjacking in a way I don’t with victims of other crimes. Even by reading their tragic ­stories in the newspapers, I travel the journey of pain with them.

I would probably never have met ­Dewani in life, but through this tragedy I feel like I have.

Condolences will pour in when I finally meet my own fate, like they are now for Dewani. But what particularly kills me now is knowing that I cannot avoid being carjacked. That it can happen to me at any time, anywhere.

And that when it happens, as was the case with Dube and Dewani and thousands of others who have just become statistics, I will not see it coming.

But when my turn comes, dear Lord, please let it be as painless as possible. If you cannot do it for me, please do it for my young daughter.

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