Parenting, Safety

When You Get A Little Too Close To Becoming A Statistic

I love our home… I really, really love it. The big windows looking out onto the bush and animal enclosures; watching the full-moon from our makeshift skylight in the loft; the fact that the whole house is actually slightly skew; standing in front of my big stove and looking straight at Table Mountain; The wind blowing through the big tree in the back garden and the slight whirl of dust that rolls by every time a car drives past. I love our creaky pantry cupboard, I love drinking my coffee on the stoep early in the morning while watching the dew glisten on the grass. I love watching the mist devour everything in sight, like a ghost – gone as soon as it came. I love the owl that lives in the tree outside my bedroom window and even the mouse that has made himself a home behind our couch. Most of all, when the rain does come… I love the smell of wet dust, there is nothing quite like it. Rainfall on a farm is the most glorious thing.

I love the sound that night brings – when nature truly wakes up and you can hear the caracal call, the owl hoot and crickets play their favorite tune. I love it all, until the sound changes. An alarm goes off in the distance, a radio crackles, cars start patrolling and spotlights come streaming in. Is every window locked? Ever door? Every security gate? Are the beams on? Is the alarm on? Get the kids, lock yourself in, get the dogs… wait. 

On Friday night three armed men in balaclavas entered our farming estate. They were spotted on one of the security cameras, casually strolling along – ducking in and out of farm fences without a care in the world. It sent our patrollers on high alert and they started tracking their footprints, which led them straight onto our property. They disappeared into the dead of night, leaving us unable to sleep and keeping a watchful eye. The next morning we found their footprints along our outer perimeter security beam. They were scouting, and our beams might have put them off… but I knew they’d be back.

On Sunday afternoon we were lazing outside when I told my husband that I had an uneasy feeling, something bad was coming. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew those men were coming back that night. At 9:30pm the S.O.S call came through from one of the farms in the estate – only a few plots aways from us. Five armed men in balaclavas broke in and held them at gunpoint, they managed to lock themselves in the bathroom and send out a distress call before the window was shattered. We phoned the police while one of our heroic neighbors rushed to their rescue. We heard the gunshots, one after the other… luckily everyone got out of there alive. The SAPS team’s response was so quick, they were there within minutes of the phone call – but the men managed to escape.


How much more?

When do we throw in the towel?

What if we are next?

How many security gates, flood lights and alarm systems will it take?

What if we forget to lock one gate, or set the beams?

What if we go outside at night and they are there – waiting?

When is it time to give up on this farm life dream and move back to the suburbs? 

Are we ever really safe?

What would you do if you were me?


From a previous post:

“Every night I go to sleep and wonder if we are going to wake up in the morning, or if the sounds I hear are the animals outside or animals trying to get in. Every morning I wake up with my kids crawling into bed with us, and I let out a sigh of relief. Farm murders are not new to me, I grew up on a farm and many of my parents’ friends have been affected by farm killings, take-overs and general violence. What is bothering me is that this hateful, murderous plague is affecting all of us – not just farmers. And I am terrified, not just for me – but for every person that has to live in this country.”



12 thoughts on “When You Get A Little Too Close To Becoming A Statistic

  1. I would get the fuck out of there Maz. You aren’t safe ANYWHERE anymore but on a farm, you’re more of a target and help is further away! I didn’t know they came back. I really think this dream needs to be replaced by a safer dream. Hard as that is.

  2. Oh gosh Maz! That is so freaking scary! I’m so sorry you all went through that. I have no advise as I have no idea what I’d do in your situation. Praying for peace for you and your family and that you all find the solution that eases your minds.

    That first paragraph and part of the second one made me want to find a farm so that I can also experience that 😀

  3. Omg, so scary! I totally understand how you feel. Something similar happened in our neighborhood recently and it freaked me out! My husband would move in a heartbeat but I just can’t…I’m holding on.

  4. That is really scary! I think what’s the scariest is not IF they’ll be back but WHEN??? That would totally freak me out. It’s not about not sleeping – for me it would be that even if I were awake, what would I actually do!!!! Sorry you have to feel this way when you have everything you love in a house and area to live in 🙁 I want to say pray but I don’t even know…

  5. Maz, do you really think living in the suburbs are safer?
    Let me tell you what I have experienced in my life living in the suburbs my entire life (33 years)
    I remember one year I was sick at home ( at that time a was a varsity student) and my parents had to work so I was completely home alone. Normally when my parents go to work I would go to their bedroom to sleep, but later I just had a feeling to pray (was weird, since I didnt had a personal relationship to Jesus at that time) and I went back to sleep.
    I started to get sort of awake heard a noise, but I just thought that it may be a sort of dream ( I have heard the noise of the kiddies tv, those toys are us kind that plays music) and since my Mum have been in the bathroom the previous day and cleaned a bit in there I thought about that. Didn’t think much of it actually, but later on after 12:00 I really awake and I had to go to the toilet, that when I realised the sound that I heard wasn’t a dream at all, but rather someone that have broke into our home.

    I just froze when i was in the passage and tears were starting to roll down my face, since I notice that they were in my room. My printer was stolen that was one of the first things that I noticed.

    I don’t even check if they were still there to be honest, but I phoned my Mother and my Mom was so angry to have received that call.

    I had to tell the police the whole incident, since I was in the house when it happened. he said you can be glad that you didn’t wake up, since you could have been raped or killed.
    That’s when I have realised why I had that feeling to pray. i just didn’t tell that part to my parents or the police, I thought that it sound insane or stupid, but now I realised that Jesus does listen to our heartfelt prayers. {just for clarity I wasn’t a Christian at that time, yes I was seeking Him but didnt had a relationship with Him. Only years later on]

    A few years later on we had about 6 house robberies in one year, we just could face it anymore. we didn’t actually wanted to be home, since what would we face again. At night we were to afraid to sleep every sound that we hear we would check. We didn’t had an alarm, the one we had they have broke it and we don’t have the money to replaced it either. yes, we had burglar bars on all our windows, but that didn’t stop them at all. We had a dog outside, but they have hid the dog with a brick so she have made a duck for it. Later own my dog have died to to that “hit” had resulted in Cancer.

    We had countless robberies over the years and don’t think you can rely on your neighbours they won’t come to your rescue and the same with our local police.

    I remember so well with one incident that the person that does the fingerprints he told us off the record that, since 1994 there are more robberies than ever. He said in the previous era there wasn’t crime like this. We know this, but was just a shock to hear it from a coloured person saying that even he said the Apartheid system was better.

    If you can afford to live in a area with all the “systems” in place and hopefully a good police station in your area – good luck, but many can’t afford all those security measurements that you got to live like a person in jail. I know we can’t – my security system are simply my prayers each night and just to make sure all the windows and gates are closed.

    I also have a cousin of mine that lives on a small farm in Calitzdorp and they also have from time to time people that try to gain access.

    In all honesty i simply don’t know how this country are ever going to be safe for all of us and be treated fair. I really miss the good old times, where you could walk outside without even to think about locking the door behind you.

  6. That really sucks. I grew up in the Southern suburbs of Cape Town. We lived in a big, old house during my primary school years. Our house was burgled so many times, my mom walked in on them once and on another occassion my sister was at home sleeping and they were both attacked. After my sister’s ordeal, my mom decided to sell the house and move. I can’t tell you what fear I lived in most of my adult life. I was always scared to be alone at home at night and my husband worked late often. Over 20 years later, this is the first house that I feel safe in. I used to have so much anxiety about it. I live on a busy road, across the road from a school, but it makes me feel safe as there is always activity. It has it’s downside like traffic and noise if there is a function, but I wouldn’t trade that for my peace of mind. Is there not a security guard on duty at your estate? I’m so sorry that you have to live in constant fear

  7. I am in the ‘burbs and have woken up with a guy next to my bed robbing me, I have had two guys break in during the middle of the damn day. I have had my car window smashed 4 times.

    To me it sounds like security out on the farm is better than it is here, and we have neighborhood watch with neighbors right next door. And our police are so slow and inept that the last time I had an issue a group of bikers helped me out instead.

    So as for what I would do if I were you? I’d just stay where I am. Because no matter where you go, this is the reality we live in. Harsh and sucky but unfortunately true.

  8. You have to think if it’s all worth it? Can you really put a price on life? The lifestyle you have sounds amazing, and I can understand the battle between staying and leaving. I suffer with extream anxiety, so for me even living in the suburbs is difficult at night. I don’t even want to go on holiday to a farm let alone live there.for me it’s a no brainer to leave. What if you are next? Is it a risk you are willing to take? Just my thoughts… It’s scary either way.

  9. I fear that becoming a statistic is a reality for most South Africans, one way or another. I was involved in an armed robbery at home and tied up while my home was ransacked and a group of heavily-armed men pointed guns at me. At 10am on a Friday morning; surrounded by neighbours on a relatively busy street.

    We were robbed while at home in a secure complex. My father’s car was stolen from a hospital parking lot.

    These are just some of the situations I have encountered – but they’re hardly unusual. We constantly hear one story after another, and I fear we may be becoming desensitised to violent crime. As horrific as it is to be near it/ to experience it/ to hear yet another story, a part of my brain always goes “oh, another one”. And not in an alarmed sort of way.

    South Africa is magnificent, and your home sounds idyllic, but fear is part and parcel it seems.

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