Visto il successo della campagna #tellusyourstory, vorrei approfittare per condividere una storia, quella di una persona che ho personalmente incontrato in Sudafrica e ho avuto l’onore di intervistare. Una donna che, durante il periodo di transizione che ha portato alla fine dell’apartheid, ha vissuto una tragedia e ancora oggi ne porta le “cicatrici”, ma che fino in fondo ha creduto nella democrazia nonostante il dolore che le era stato inflitto. Il motivo per cui condivido questa storia è che la trovo pertinente al progetto che stiamo portando avanti, ma soprattutto perché racconta una violenza che qui da noi sono distanti ormai dalla fine delle guerre mondiali, ma in luoghi non lontani avvengono tutt’ora e che se non cominciamo a raccontare e condividere potrebbero bussare nuovamente alla nostra porta. Coscienza e consapevolezza sono due chiavi perché il mondo attorno a noi cominci a cambiare. Tra le storie che prossimamente pubblicheremo ci sono altre storie di violenze una in particolar modo grave come questa. Vorremo stimolare una riflessione proprio su questo: la violenza, la discriminazione hanno fatto parte e fanno parte della nostra storia come esseri umani, purtroppo. Solamente riscoprendo la nostra umanità, che è la base del nostro essere in quanto tali, possiamo veramente cominciare un percorso in cui queste possano essere piano piano eliminate. Creare una rete, unirci in questo ideale comune che è un futuro nel quale queste siano solo un brutto ricordo.
From “Apartheid and Reconciliation in South Africa”, Jiménez Turati Aglaya; pp. 471-476. Interview n. 25: ANONYMOUS, Apartheid victim, 12/2012, PRETORIA (SA).
So if I am going to tell you my story, where am I going to hear that I was speaking with this beautiful girl?
I am going to publish it in my thesis.
And then are you going to get money?
No, I will not get money because I am doing it for my doctorate research so I won’t get money for this, it’s not…
And another thing, I forgot to ask the lady yesterday, that whenever we told them our stories, they must not write in Sowetan only, they must write even in The Citizen even in The Star because you know our ministers, our president etc. they don’t buy Sowetan, they buy The Citizen, The Star; so they can understand we got the pain we still feel that pain for that time, for the apartheid era or those years.
Do you mean that you don’t feel the reconciliation?
Yes. Like in 1994, when I was involved in the bomb blast in Germiston, that time I was pregnant, I was 7 months pregnant. It was on Monday 23rd of April because the bomb was blown first on the 21st in Johannesburg, so everybody had gone to work they started to talk about this, did you see that lady who was falling with the bricks etc. in Johannesburg. I was just feeling angry, there was nobody who had made me feel angry but I was feeling that, so when they started, I said, shut up guys, I don’t want to hear this thing. I didn’t know that the bomb was coming to me. We started at 8 o’clock, it was half past 8 when I saw those guys coming with a trailer after my boss has moved, because my boss had parked the car in front of the shop, so after the boss moved the car, somebody just came in pushing the trailer and I asked them, why are you putting this here? One of them said to me in Afrikaans, you will die today but I didn’t take anything seriously. I thought maybe they were joking and that’s the time when they told us that we must go behind so many things because we are going to suffer, we are not going to get the food from the shops because there was going to be a war but I couldn’t put anything in my mind I said, why? I don’t mind, because I was pregnant and I was hungry I needed someone to go and buy for me a toast because I wanted to eat. There was this white guy, who we were working with, he was sitting there, I said to him, Paul, his name was Paul, Paul please my baby give me 1 hundred, I want to buy a toast and he said to me, mummy, he used to call me mummy, I don’t have money now in my pocket, even if I had the money I cannot give you the money in here because am sitting in the till, I said, I understood and he said, wait our boss is going out and then I said, it’s fine. After our boss had moved the car, those guys came in with the trailer, they pushed the trailer and after the trailer they were going with their car. Their car was Toyota Corolla, a blue one, I looked at them and they were wearing jeans and hi-techs and they didn’t want to look at us in the face, they only did like this and then they put the bomb at a quarter to 9 after that they left but I was feeling something wasn’t alright in that trailer, I asked a lady who we were working with, Despina, I said, what is this, why are they putting the trailer and then they run away? She was going to the toilet and said to me, we cannot understand those people, maybe they are selling something and she went to the toilet. 5 to I stood out right at the door but I saw something ticking like a watch and I said, what is that? When I wanted to go and open the trailer because it was not locked, something just told me, no don’t touch it, go back. At 9 o’clock when I went inside the shop I heard a loud boom, I wanted to know what it was but I couldn’t see with my see, there was a very bad smell in my nose, I said please guys I was thinking that maybe because where I was standing I was busy packing the shop because it was Monday the shop was empty, I called one of them, I said, please give it to me a gun machine that machine we put the prices, she came, when she was passing the fridge she came straight to me, it’s where this loud noise was bombing. After that I couldn’t hear anybody say anything, but I was alone I cried, please help me! Help me! I couldn’t see with my eyes, but I was crawling like a baby, because I knew the shop properly, I knew this was this department etc. I crawled like a baby when I was in the middle of the shop I found the other who was coming to buy, she was fat like this, I touched her, she didn’t react, I touched the breast but it was something hot but I don’t know because I couldn’t see, I had glasses full in my eyes, I said, please guys switch on the light it was to me like somebody had switched off the lights coz I couldn’t see, when I tried to grab something because I wanted to wipe my eyes, I felt that I didn’t have anything on me, even when I touched my stomach, my stomach was not in, I started to cry saying, where’s my baby? I wanted to know where my baby was but nobody answered me everybody was quiet. When I was somewhere there I tried to get a piece of Kleenex then I wiped one eye, I saw the other lady with no legs. I asked myself what was happening. Suddenly I saw something like a light far and then I crawled again back to, I said I wanted to go out there, when I tried to go out the bricks fell on my back, I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t do anything. I said, please help me! I show some shoes, I only saw the shoes because I was sleeping my tummy, I saw the shoes and I said, please help me, I don’t know who the guy was, he was speaking Afrikaans, he said but he responded to me in English, I am coming. I tried to grab the piece of Kleenex and then wipe my eyes just to look who was there, I saw that guy, he was wearing a police uniform, I asked, what is wrong? The police couldn’t even help me, the bricks had hit me on the back so I couldn’t walk but I crawled again coz I tried to look there again I saw so many bricks still coming down on me, I said, no! am going to die, let me crawl again because I couldn’t stand up, I crawled. One of the guys who saw me run to come and help me, when they grabbed me coz I was so heavy, they said, let us pull her and put her over here and then we must go and get the car, we must take her quickly to the hospital, I saw the other guy who was lying there, the head was open in the middle, I fainted, until I woke up in the hospital where I heard the sisters saying, labour, labour, labour. Now am in hospital and my mind said, but when I felt again there was no tummy, so I asked what had happened and they put me in the other room where I heard them speaking and saying, oh shit, what are we going to do about this one because the head, even the body is full of glasses? Where are we going to start to help her? They said it was dangerous because I had some other glasses inside my eyes.
That’s why you couldn’t see?
Yes. But the doctors started to… I don’t know what it was, but it was like water, you know when you open the water from a pipe, they started to pour it my eyes to remove the glasses but they said again no, no, don’t do that coz if you do that the other glasses will go in there, then I don’t know what they put in my eyes but the doctors said I was going to lose my eyes and after that they said you can see that you are still alive buy your baby, they checked the baby, he was not breathing and they said I must sign for an operation. I couldn’t sign, I couldn’t do anything, but they just grabbed my hand just to sign to help my baby. They put so many machines on me, after when they said I must go to the theatre my husband was there and they spoke to him as well. He was there because he wanted to ask me what he was going to buy because it was the 25th of the month and he was getting the money, every time he got money he’d come to me and ask me what he must buy etc. and he signed as well, he said he signed for the operation and they told him that I was still alive but he said to them, please help her you see here, there’s something like a pimple, it’s not a pimple, it’s a glass even in there are some glasses but it was still very painful. I couldn’t move my waist because it was very sore but after that they just found out that my baby has started kicking now and they said that she cannot go to the theatre the baby has started to pick up so we must pump whatever just to make the baby to kick more than that because he was starting to kick little by little then when I saw that, I asked them, what was wrong, they said it was a bomb blast, I started to cry. Where are my colleagues now, they told me, the one I was speaking was my cousin, they took her away with a helicopter because the bomb was blast, the brain was damaged and blooding was flowing like water, they lifted her to. And I asked, where are the others? So when I was trying to go, the nurses escorted me, I just found this man called Wilbur Mnduta, I think he was a journalist or something, he asked me a question, I told him, please I don’t want to see my face in the camera. He spoke to the colleagues and said, please guys don’t shoot her, don’t put her in the camera but he said to them that I couldn’t see. They interviewed me then I answered them that I had gone to look for the other guys so they said some of them were thrown out of the windows very far from the place, I asked if they survived, they told me they had hand fractures etc. they told me that I had to go and sleep, I declined because at that time I was having my second born daughter she didn’t want to sleep without me nor do anything without me so I said I didn’t want to sleep in the hospital that I wanted to go home and they told me, ok, but if there’s any problem you must come back, then they discharged me and I went home. When I arrived home I think it was only 10 minutes but I was exhausted, that time I was exhausted, I felt sleepy but they said I couldn’t sleep because they didn’t know what was going to happen if I was going to sleep. There were the police coming, they came to fetch me even at the hospital there was a policeman, the Afrikaans guy. I said to them, those people that put the bomb were the Buri and they said to me, we are the Buri but we never put the bomb, so you have to write and tell us you can identify them, I said yes coz I did see them, so the police came and fetched me and my daughter said, let alone my mother she cannot go and if she is going am going with her. They took me to Germiston.
(II part – interruption due to her emotions and crying during the narration)
Do you want to continue? Are you sure?
Am sure, they took us to Jamestown, while in Jamestown they said I must wait for the other guys to come and fetch and take us to Johannesburg where I was going to identify those people on drawings, something like a parade, I said yes, I can, I even know the car came with a Chrysider blue one so they took me again, for the third time. I asked them why? They said, you will see. We are going so far, to a place called Heckenhof where we couldn’t see anything, we only saw trees, there was only a house there, we could hear the car, it was passing, very far from the house. I said to my daughter, let us pray, it’s a place that they are going to kill us here, they left and locked the house, they put some bodyguard outside and said they were coming back. They opened the house and told us to watch the TV etc. I was sitting there telling myself, God am going to be fine because I was going to die with my daughter, I don’t care but I have the first daughter but I told myself, if she is not here she is going to die when God is coming for her. After a while, I think it was 10 to 1, midnight, they came. When they came, they came with a barrel of Kentucky, the Zimba etc. and said to me this is for you and your daughter. I said, you want us to eat this and then after you kill us after? They said, No, we cannot kill you, we are the police, we are the special police, we took you because we heard that there is somebody is going to kill you in your house because they know that you survived and they know that you saw them when did that. When I went home, when I arrived it was half past 2 and my husband was standing outside, he didn’t know where we were because there was no telephone at that time, where you could take and my family. When at home, I went to sleep but I kept thinking, I heard the cars passing. The following day in the morning, because the bomb was blast on Monday that was Tuesday the 26th when I was going out I bumped into the guys who were driving the car. They asked me, you know Mephis? I said, No. They asked me, how long have been here? I said, a week but when they asked if it was me, I felt like something was going to be bad for so I said no, I don’t know Mephis and then I passed. When I looked at the car, I saw an AK47. Someone just called me so quickly and told me, what did they say? What did they want? They said you were right you never identified yourself because they were coming to kill you. Those people paid those people to come and kill you, they know that you are going to identify them. On the 27th I woke up in the morning and I went to vote for our first president. I couldn’t stand in the line, they just put me in and then I just chose the president and went back home. The time the police were busy with me, they said they wanted to give me a reward of 20,000 rand, but not exactly me, they said the person who was going to identify the people who had put the bomb and it was only me who had seen them. Some of them came and took me from home to Johannesburg to Preston; I went there to identify them. Inside there I saw something like a glass, they asked me, are you not afraid to point at them? I said, no, I don’t care.
(Stop due to her emotions)