Diwali trauma

2016-11-02 06:02

I LIVE in Meadows in Hayfields and this is my fourth year here. My family, my son’s friend and I were at our residence celebrating our religious festival, Diwali.

My husband had seen a white van stop on the opposite side of the road to our property and had thought it was relatives, so I had decided to check. I saw that it was no one I knew and went back to where everyone else was.

A few minutes later we had heard someone shouting and using vulgar language, which was coming from what seemed to be near our property.

We had all gone to check what the fuss was about when we saw a white man approaching us with a long thin object that looked like a stick or sjambok. He was swearing at us as he hit down our lanterns and clay lamps, breaking them, but he did not stop there. He continued to hit our fence and wall as he swore at us.

He came across as a racist because he said “It’s you f**king people that have no f**king brains.” My husband said to him “You can’t do this.”

He said: “I can do whatever I want,” After he had terrorised us, broken everything and swore at us. He said: “Now you know how my dogs feel. You better stop these fireworks now.”

It was just before 8pm. After reporting it to the neighbourhood crime watch, SAPS only arrived at 10.40pm but by this time we had all gone to bed.

After asking a few other neighbours, who were also celebrating, we found out that we were the only ones he approached.

I grew up in the apartheid era, but I have never experienced something like this before. My son is only 13 and I had hoped he would never have had to see something like this, but, unfortunately I could not prevent my son and his 14-year-old friend, a white boy, from seeing how violent, vulgar and racist that man was.

If it has affected me in such a big way that all I can do is imagine how it has affected the thoughts and opinions of the young children. My son and I could not eat or sleep, and we are still so shaken up. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. I just want everyone to be cautious of the racism that still lives in some people’s hearts and minds, I hope that no one else experiences something like this.

R. Pillay Hayfields

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