Bound author waits 12 hours for help after robbery

2012-09-21 00:00

“IT felt like a cheap movie. As if you couldn’t believe what you were seeing.”

That was how acclaimed Afrikaans writer and actor Chris Barnard (73) described an attack on him in his home on the family farm, Thuli, near Mataffin in the Nelspruit area. He lay on the floor, tied to chair, for almost 12 hours before he was found. Barnard was confronted by two men at about 7.30 pm on Tuesday as he watched TV.

Four masked and armed men broke the wooden frame of a window and then broke through the burglar guards.

“It was when I saw another two men behind the first two that it became clear this was not a cheap film,” Barnard said.

Although he was hit in the face, he was not seriously hurt. Bruises on his wrists showed where his bindings bit into his flesh and his legs were tied with one of his shirts.

One of the robbers guarded him while the other three ransacked the house for almost two hours. They took R150 from his trouser pocket and loaded household items and food onto his bakkie.

The loot included Barnard’s computer containing many of his books and film scripts and a gun safe that was wrenched from the wall.

The robbers even loaded up a double bed, but threw it off the bakkie at the farm gate as they fled. Before they left, they bound Barnard hand and foot with shoelaces and cable ties to a chair.

In his struggle to free himself he broke the chair’s back and tipped it over. “Then I lay on the floor and waited for my employees to arrive.”

When it got light, he started shouting for help and three of his staff came to his rescue. Paramedics treated Barnard on the scene, but he declined to be taken to hospital. His wife, the film director Katinka Heyns, was not at home at the time.

The couple are currently enjoying success with their film about anthropologist Eugene Marais, Die Wonderwerker.

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