Celebrated local author says he is leaving SA after attack

2018-10-15 14:20
Darryl David has been behind several literary festivals in the Midlands and beyond, as well as being an author and academic.

Darryl David has been behind several literary festivals in the Midlands and beyond, as well as being an author and academic. (Ian Carbutt - file)

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Celebrated local author and academic Darryl David has had enough after being attacked outside his Howick home and says he is leaving South Africa.

David was accosted by three men wielding pangas, garden tools and slashers outside his home when he was trying to park his car last week.

A lecturer at the University of Kwa­Zulu Natal (UKZN) and a prominent figure on the local books scene, David told The Witness he has been constantly replaying the incident in his head, and described it as the worst incident he has been involved in in his 48 years.

He has already begun looking for employment opportunities in other countries, and has even put a call out for someone to take over the book festivals he runs across the country.

“We park our cars outside the gate because we have five dogs and it’s difficult to restrain them when opening the gate.

“When I parked the first car I didn’t see anyone. But as I was getting into the other I saw three guys suddenly. They looked dodgy, they had pangas and slashers. I thought maybe they were gardeners and I carried on.”

David said the men ran towards him as he was closing the car door and a tussle for the car keys ensued. “I have no recollection of that part, but somehow I fought them off and began running into the driveway.”

He said he flung the keys into his yard to stop the assailants from getting them. “I turned around and saw them ransacking my car. So I ran toward them and slammed the door against one of them. They then ran away with a lot of stuff in their hands.”

David said he lost his laptop, cell phone, a pair of sunglasses and other belongings.

“People tell me ‘at least you weren’t harmed’, but it’s too dangerous here in SA. I’m going to move. When things like this happen, it’s a sign to go … we live in constant danger,” he said. “Last Friday I had to fetch my daughter from school at 9 pm. I cannot tell you how terrified I was driving at night.”

David said: “I wasn’t intimidated, because they were smaller [in build] than me; I didn’t fear them. But what if my wife or daughter was involved? They could have died. That realisation made me want to move.

“I don’t want to leave KZN. My daughter loves Howick and I’m happy at UKZN, but this incident has forced me to start looking elsewhere,” he added.

David is currently looking for jobs in teaching, lecturing, or arts and culture management. He said he would prefer English-speaking countries where there are no dog quarantines.

“I was in Scotland for two weeks recently and I stayed with my former neighbour. Their 18-year-old daughter took us on walks around dodgy areas. In SA you wouldn’t go to places like that … we’re always on high alert.

“Yes, the weather is depressing in places like Scotland, but is that more important than your life?

“I will worry about my daughter’s safety constantly. I have to make the difficult decision to leave, and I’ve got to make it now.”

David has lived in Howick for 15 years. “We own one of the nicest homes on our road. But owning a nice home puts you in trouble — they will come for you.”

Police confirmed they were investigating the incident.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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