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Silent Night

Silent Night

by Brendon Bosworth / 20.05.2009

“I sleep with my door open at night.”
Alien words. I stare at our old family friend – mid-fifties, mother of two, soft eyes, calm voice. Completely insane. Out here on her lonely farm at the end of a long dusty road. No cellphone signal. No neighbours or ADT. No-one to hear her screams when they come with the paraffin and machetes.

Hasn’t she read Disgrace? Doesn’t she know she’s living in South Africa – the farm murder capital of the world?

“Eight years out here. No problems. Except that time they stole the food from the deck area, but that was just petty.”

The conversation turns to KwaZulu-Natal. My mother recounts the story of a woman who had her skull smashed in with a claw hammer, by the man who’d been working in her garden for the past three years. Boss fired his wife (the meid) and he didn’t take kindly. Broke in with a friend. bludgeoned her toddler’s head to a pulp. Attacked her afterwards. Emergency room; critical condition.

We talk about the friend who stayed on a farm in the Midlands. She bid her guests farewell at midnight, after an evening soirée. Went back into the lounge to find four men waiting for her. Gang-raped, tortured, sliced with knives, dehumanized, obliterated. My stomach churns as I listen to it. Other people; other lives. Other deaths. Newspaper fodder. I picture my sisters, mother, girlfriend. My mind doesn’t bend that far. It’s a self-preserving mechanism.

That night, in the cottage, 1km away from the farmhouse. No burglar bars. Transparent fear. Spray a few drops of mace outside the window. Test-run. Hide my little knife discreetly. They’ll probably use it on me when they come. But I prefer to think I’ll stab for the jugular.

Sleep eventually comes and wins over paranoia.

The clean morning sky breathes safety into the day. The embrace of the green valley allows no inroad for anxiety. I must live on this land that is mine also.

Image © Andy Davis

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  1. Pauly says:

    disturbing leaving things to hope only

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  2. Oldtimer says:

    Locked doors and attempts at “security” are all pretty much wishful thinking. If they want to “get to” you they will find a way. Better to arm yourself with a steel will and an unwavering desire for justice. Justice at any cost. Even revenge, if the system fails you.

    It used to be that car thieves stole your car from the street or out of your garage. That was irritating, so we invented car-alarms. But that meant rushing out to confront the buggers, in the middle of the night. So we invented immobilisers – big mistake. In reply, they held guns to our heads to get the keys. So we thought we would get smart with Trackers. Now the bastards shove you in the boot and maybe even murder you so you can’t trip the alarm. Better to have just left the damn car in the garage – take the damn thing, but then know that I will hunt you to the ends of the earth and shove your sorry arse in jail.

    Talk softly and walk with a BIG stick.

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  3. Andy says:

    Think Brendon’s point is encapsulated in the last sentence. Living here is a choice. We all need to stop acting like our problems are out of our hands, and we have no agency or ability to fix them.

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  4. ALVIN says:

    Iwould wrather live in S.A. then anywhere have u seen the sickos in the states (WRONG TURN) and Europe (HOSTEL) How about Afganistan or Iraq where human debree liters the streets after a suicide bombing. VIVA ZUMA!

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  5. Anthony says:


    What sort of a mental delinquent calculates the tenor of life in another country based on shlock horror films by Rob Schmidt and Eli Roth (I sincerely hope you were joking, although your final proclamation seems to throw your cognitive faculties into question). Also, it’s fairly obvious that one can always vindicate one’s own disposition by paralleling it with something worse – rather compare yourself to something better, and then strive for the ideal, instead of sinking into complacency, satisfied that you aren’t like X, Y and Z (who, in this case, have some of the most atrocious human rights records in modern times). If you genuinely believe that America and Europe are worse off than South Africa on the basis of two revivalist exploitation directors, then you need to get a clue, mate.

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