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.”