Waiting to be murdered in South Africa: an extract of the book My Turn South Africa by Alice VL
Each night, I know it could be my turn and that of my family’s. What I don’t know is how many attackers will surround my bed before I wake up. I lay in bed as the hours tick by, and I wait. I don’t want to be awoken by armed men ready to inflict brutality on my children or me.
As I try and calm my greatest fear, I listen for unfamiliar sounds. My heart pounds a mile a minute with each new, unfamiliar sound.
Most nights, I don’t sleep. Nobody sleeps. Most nights, I lay awake and think of a neighbor, perhaps a family member that was attacked only days before.
How my world has changed. I don’t drive at night, and we no longer sit in our gardens, day or night. How terrifying the shadows have become as they walk by my home. How unnerving the voices in the distance are.
I listen to others around me; they don’t say much, but the fear in their eyes reminds me that we are all just waiting for our turn. I live from day to day praying that my turn and that of those I love would skip us.
I know that when they do come for my family and me, we won’t stand a chance against the fight that will come in like a thief in the night. The numbers will infiltrate my home, my safe place when they come for us.
My heart is broken. My footprints are covered in the blood of people like me. I feed off the soil where blood is spilled, every single day. It flows through our lands, into our rivers and dams and hangs like a foggy mist in the air.
My president doesn’t care if tonight is perhaps, my turn.
Tomorrow morning, he won’t even know my name. My life does not matter to my president or to my country.
Tomorrow morning, he will tell the world once more that there are no farm murders in South Africa, and my death, or that of my children, will be classified as normal crime.
Because, I am white, my turn will come.
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