Dutch confidence, petty thieves and sprints

12th February 2018
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By Keletso Thobega -


So tell me, dear reader, what would you do if you were to be attacked by a tjatjarag character? Ideally, I would pull a mean punch or pull out my pistol and aim at his scrotum. In reality I would probably scream like a mad person or run away. Call me a coward but we all know that most people pretend to be brave and gallant. But trouble never taps your shoulder and tells you it is coming. Not even a criminal sets an appointment. And that is the contentious part – being caught unaware. When someone has been attacked or robbed, people say all sorts of things: You should have done this or that blah blah. Trust me, when you are in trouble, you don’t have time to think straight or be smart.

Anyone who has been a victim of crime would attest that when you are attacked, there is little time to pull movie moves. It is a ‘fight or flight’ moment, and the latter often takes precedence, at least in my case. I am reminded of a recent incident when I was nearly mugged by five rogues around my neighbourhood. It was shortly after 7pm and I was walking to a nearby establishment to meet an acquaintance. The place is less than five minutes from my place. It was not dark since it is still summer. When I stepped out onto the street, there was not a soul in sight. When I turned the corner, there were two weird-looking guys lurking nearby. They greeted me and I grunted back.

As soon as I passed them I instinctively knew they were up to no good. I am streetwise too, you know. I pretended to not notice that I could tell they were targeting me but I increased my pace. There was not a soul on the street. A split second later, they started following me as I had suspected. A few steps ahead, I bent over, legs apart and pretended to fix my shoe, so that I could see them properly between my legs. Three others had appeared out of nowhere. Moer! My sphincter muscles felt weak, my stomach felt constrained and it felt like my heart was in my throat.

I started praying to God and my ancestors to turn up for me. I was close to arriving but had to cross the road. I contemplated sprinting across the road but over the years I have lost gravity and can’t sprint to save my life. Look, those guys can outrun even Isaac Makwala. I also wouldn’t be able to catch them even if I got help. Kana magotswana a itse go iphitlha. Lo kgona go mmatla, a bataletse hela, a lo lebile. When I looked up, what should appear but a taxi. I flagged it down madly and jumped in as it screeched to a halt.

The driver seemed surprised that I paid to go a stone’s throw away but I explained that I was getting away from some guys who I suspected had targeted me. Interestingly, when I looked back, the guys had slowed down their pace. I was the one that got away! Not everyone is lucky. I have also been robbed on a different occasion. In worse scenarios, some people have also been assaulted or even killed. These scoundrels are cruel and evil. It is hardly surprising that some Batswana have resorted to taking the law into their own hands. Basimanyana ba, ba batla phafana… o mo latswe mokwatla. E re a santse a re “pere pere” a bo o mo tsenya setlhako mo ganong!




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