ON Sunday at 5pm my wife and I were on our way into Walmer from Schoenmakerskop. Near the 10th Avenue end of Victoria Drive (just across the railway line) we needed to slow down to avoid large puddles of water.
Two "youths” (18 to 20 years old) were loitering there on the road verges.
One had dreadlocks, the other had on a grey and black striped beanie and a dark grey jersey.
As we crawled past, trying to avoid them, each hurled a fist-sized, sharp- pointed granite rock at my little vehicle.
Luckily my wife ducked as one projectile smashed through her window and hurtled over her head, striking me on the shoulder.
The other rock smashed through a back window, just missing my head.
We raced to the Walmer police station where, initially, we were received with a degree of lassitude.
Minutes later, another stoning victim, with a bleeding leg, arrived after suffering a similar stoning attack at the same spot (she was, it seems, en route to render aid to flood victims).
The attack – some would say just an isolated incident with us in the wrong place at the wrong time – was nevertheless premeditated and malicious.
This was attempted murder: the intention was to inflict lethal injury.
It was not a robbery or a hijacking: no attempt was made to reach through smashed windows and steal bags.
The attack was apparently an expression of sheer vindictive hatred. That’s what makes it so shocking for us.
This week I asked some friends who have lived in Gqebera all their lives (we work together to support township drama and arts initiatives) if they could explain the mentality behind these heinous attacks.
They were nonplused. One suggestion was that these attackers are filled with self-hatred.
My friends added though that the traditional respect for their elders, a cornerstone of amaXhosa culture, had long since disappeared in Gqebera.
New supposed "leaders” (all young) were now in the forefront.
What motivated this murderous assault? I keep racking my brains – surely it had nothing to do with service non-delivery discontent.
Was it resentment? Envy? Teenage boredom? Frustration? Racism? Pure vicious evil? What?
If anyone can help me to understand why anyone should target complete strangers who are elderly citizens in ordinary little cars I would be interested to hear their explanations.
To conclude, I think policemen on station duty need to be trained to receive shocked and injured victims of crimes with more empathy and more caring support. Statements were eventually taken with courtesy, but sufficient and immediate urgent action was not forthcoming.
Andre Lemmer, Schoenmakerskop, Port Elizabeth