One innocuously beautiful winter morning, in a spectacular Johannesburg suburb. where all the houses rest safely behind huge walls of politeness. I was on my routine walk, when a white male jogger, in his designer balaclava was running toward me.
What do you think happened?
He moved to make room for me? we smile? we nod a greeting? We follow the every morning rhythm I have with dog walkers and security guards?
No! He keeps running toward me. I panic, my body overheats with rage and my fear turns into a militant stride that speeds up and heads directly toward him.
I will not give way.
I will not greet.
I will not slow down.
This is my walkway.
This is my neighbourhood.
This is MY country.
You should be afraid of me
in the same way you made me afraid of you.
You believed that I was dangerous while
You were all trained to terrorise me
and you terrorised a nation.
At the very last moment he shifts his shoulder and it brushes against mine. The slight contact feels like a blow to my body, that shakes the tree of PTSD.
Not breaking my stride I click “Did you not see me!” My walk turns into a jog into a run as my body remembers images, smells, feelings from another time and I struggle to breath because “their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and guns, are still fighting” (Cranberries -Zombie).
During my walk, on an innocuously beautiful winter morning, in a spectacular Johannesburg suburb, where all the houses rest safely behind huge walls of politeness. My heart names the unnamed and my head cannot tell apart “die wit gevaar” from the rainbow.