Package on the head
- The first time I lost consciousness almost immediately. The gangsters watched the house and knew that in the mornings, when the children were already at school, I walked the dog on the lawn for ten minutes. Only ten minutes the door remains open. Two black guys ran out from around the corner, and I rushed into the house. I only remember how they knocked me down, put a plastic bag on my head and pulled it around my neck. Then hit and dark. I was saved by a neighbor riding a bicycle. The open door is a danger signal in Africa. He jumped over the fence, ran into the house and found me on the floor.
- What did they steal?
“Nothing but my wedding ring,” Michelle shrugs. - Everyone knows that whites no longer keep money in the house. The goal is only murder.
We are sitting in the courtyard of the house of my new friend Dirk Le Roux, a former police officer working in a private security company, in Springs, a suburb of Johannesburg. Dirk always has a pistol with him, even when he is sleeping, as is the case with most whites in South Africa. Three wonderful blond children are playing on the lawn. They are gullible, like all children, often run up to caress me, lay their heads on their knees and chat on a mixture of English and Afrikaans (language of white settlers). I ruffle the soft hair of six-year-old Alexander and ask:
"Do you like your country?"
“No,” he says. - I want to leave and as soon as possible. Where they won't kill me. ”
Dirk grills huge chunks of meat.
“The second time was much worse,” Dirk recalls, turning over the roasted beef. - Michelle went out to the yard to hang up the washed laundry. Fortunately, I called her at that moment, and then I heard her scream in the phone. She ran into the house, threw the phone on the floor and threw it with his foot under the cabinet. So I taught her to hear what was going on. I was frantic and desperate. Too far. I shouted on the radio: "Someone who is near my house!" Faster! My wife is being killed! ”My colleague was three minutes away. He broke into the house when it already seemed that it was all over. Michelle's hands were tied, a plastic bag on his head. The face is blue, the mouth is wide open and stuck to the package. She did not immediately begin to breathe. In the package, the brain dies in seven minutes. This is a terrible death.
Life behind bars
The table is full of meat, and I watch a two-year-old Minka chewing a piece of beef bravely.
“Isn't that bad for her?” - I ask with surprise.
“The children of the Boers (Afrikaners) start eating meat as soon as the first teeth erupt,” Dirk laughs. - Try the pub. (This is corn tasteless porridge, which is poured over hot sauces. - Auth.)
Children behave flawlessly. The Boers have an iron discipline. They do not recognize European parenting practices. “What does it mean: you can not punish a child for a crime? Stupidity. You can and slap on the pope, and strip the sweet. How to teach them to be adults? We are traditional and God-fearing people. Wives are usually involved in home and children (usually, in a family of three or four children), men earn a living and perform male work. We are not too fond of expressing our feelings in public, but family is EVERYTHING for us. Everything".
Dirk clicks the phone.
“And here’s the news,” he says with a wry smile. “An old lady has been kidnapped from a white farm by black gangsters.” What for? Unclear. Her face was disfigured. As usual, a package on the head. Threw on the road, deciding that she died. But she miraculously survived. Her helicopter was taken to the hospital. ”
Dirk shows a picture of an old woman, and I feel sick.
“Do you think this is a historic revenge for apartheid?”
- I was only six years old when apartheid ended. And my children ... What are they to blame? It's been almost 25 years. Young black gangsters did not see apartheid at all. They are the masters of the country. I save money to get everyone out. But we are six people, including the old mother. And everyone lives on my guard's salary. Some tickets will cost several thousand dollars.
“Why are there no ferocious Boerboel dogs in your house?” It used to be popular in Africa- I ask.
“It’s pointless,” Dirk explains. - The dogs are thrown over the fence poisoned cutlets. Now White keeps little Jack Russell Terriers in the backyard. They are excellent hunters, brave, scandalous, and immediately make a fuss.
Late at night, Dirk escorts me to my tiny hotel, carefully searching the surroundings with my eyes. I wrap myself in the cold in a warm Michelle jacket. The wind howls in Africa. Sandstorm knocks down.
- What is it, Dirk? I ask, pointing my trembling finger at the cheerful lights in the forest.
- This is the camp of black squatters. (A squatter is a person who seizes land or premises illegally. - Auth.). They are having fun, today is Saturday. Buy cheap alcohol, dance.
- But they can come here ?!
- Of course they can. Someday. That's why I want to take my family away.
Suddenly a weakness comes over me.
- Dirk, I can no longer! I do not sleep three nights! Neither tranquilizers, nor alcohol - nothing helps. You can not go to the store, which is located three hundred meters from the house. Need to go by car. But how many whites were shot behind the wheel. First they shoot, and then they look for money. Girls in South Africa are more likely to be raped than learning to read. Since January, 288 white farms are attacked, 48 people are killed in front of children. In most cases, nothing is stolen. This is a hate crime. Here's today's news: a supermarket has been robbed by an armed gang in Bergville. Three adults died from their wounds, and a ten-year-old child was shot at close range. What did the child do to them ?! And it's everyday! 20 thousand people, black and white, were killed in South Africa last year. Every day I listen to the stories of widows with stone faces, widowers breaking into a cry, orphaned children. My skin color is an occasion to attack.
- Well, enough tantrums! You were at war.
- But the war has a front line! And this is an undeclared war.
- Go and close the iron grate in the house. You never close it and substitute not only yourself, but also others.
In a panic, I look around my cozy home. The lattice is even in the toilet. Sniffing like a cat, I go around all the corners and draw the curtains. Then, as a child, I climb under the covers and cover myself with my head. In a heavy dream, I see a plastic bag being pulled over my head, and I wake up with my own scream. In the courtyard of the dogs barking. Three in the morning. Someone entered the courtyard? From fear, I can not move. In the house there are only three black maidservants and a white hostess, an iron lady Sue, an old beauty. (I have never seen a woman grow old so beautifully.) She has imperturbable aristocratic manners, and I am sure that if you put a knife to her throat, she will only laugh in the face of the executioner. No, I can't call her. It's humiliating. I'm a white lady too. We must keep the brand. Call Dirk and wake up the whole family? Shame on you And suddenly, I understand that color of skin obliges much. You say this is racism? Not. It belongs to the Christian civilization. "Do not fear the fear of the night, from the arrow flying in the days, from the thing in the darkness passing ..." In a cold sweat, I forget to sleep, and at six in the morning I am awakened by wild birds.
Bury with dignity
“Elite Funeral Group” in Pretoria. Such in Africa at every corner. The funeral is the most important moment in a person’s life, and not a birth at all. For the funeral, whole families go bankrupt, take loans. In Africa, the tradition of a loved one to the earth is called "the celebration of his life."
Luxurious office, plenty of flowers, expensive furniture and reverent silence. I am met by a very tall, slender woman with bright blue eyes and a radiant smile of an angel. Mariandra Heunis. A real beauty. “Sorry for lingering. Today we buried a child, and it is always difficult psychologically. ”
I ask her to tell about what happened to her family two years ago.
- We lived then on small rented farm: I, my husband and three daughters, - says Mariandra in an even voice. “That night, we watched TV upstairs in the living room with our six-year-old daughter and fell asleep right on the couch.” I woke up to the sound of the cocked hammer and the first thing I saw: a gun aimed at me. Two black men of thirty. I screamed, woke up husband and daughter. My husband said: we do not keep money in the house, you can take what you want. And then one of them said: we came to kill. His partner shot my husband five times. I lay in a pool of his blood. My six year old daughter screamed. She rushed around the room, and the gangsters started shooting at her. Fortunately, missed.
Then they yanked me to my feet, put a gun to my head and said that I should go with them. I knew that if I was dragged down, they would first rape me, and then they would kill me anyway. And below are two daughters. Four-year-old woke up, hid under a blanket. I desperately fought as far as possible for a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy. My six-year-old daughter took out her piggy bank and said: take it, there is money, just leave. My husband coughed up blood and whispered all the time: “Please! Leave! ”They shot him in the head, and he was silent forever. I did not know who to save: the child within me or my children. I just said: you have already done everything you could. Dont kill. They conferred among themselves, then they took our mobile phones and left without haste. I looked at her husband. He was no longer breathing. She grabbed her daughters, put them in a car, told them to lie down on the floor and drove to the nearest police station. Five days after the husband’s funeral, I gave birth to a son.
We never returned to this house and moved to Pretoria. Friends and neighbors took our stuff. My husband left no insurance, and I had to start from scratch with four children. My friend offered me a job.
- Lord! How after everything that happened, you can work in the funeral home ?!
“I consider this my vocation,” says Mariandra proudly. - If you want a privilege. Only people who have experienced a lot can help others in their grief. I do this for my late husband. Everyone says we are lucky. I and my children survived. But sometimes I think maybe it would be better if we left at once in one night. My eight-year-old daughter, Mika, constantly lives on antidepressants. She is seriously ill. She has post-traumatic syndrome and panic attacks. She remembers every detail of that night, something that even I do not remember. I decided to start my mission and created an organization of female widows. Thousands of white women were raped and saw their husbands killed. But they are silent for fear.
(I have already heard from other victims how the mother is first tied up, and then the daughter is raped before her eyes, and then the daughter is watching the same execution on her mother. In South Africa, in the country with the highest level of AIDS in the world, there is a wild belief among blacks: if you rape a white child, you can be cured of the disease. - Auth.)
- The world is absolutely indifferent to us. The so-called international community believes that there is no genocide against whitesthat we pay for apartheid. I became the voice of women victims. We opened a foundation to help these women get back on their feet after losing their breadwinner. After all, we have a traditional large family. Women are busy with children and usually do not have a profession. With the whole world, we collect money to save widows.
One thing I know for sure: we must leave. I do not want my children to become the next victims. But where should I go? To Australia? To Sweden? In America? What country shelters us?