Cape Town Stories 17

Loud banging on the door. It is 2am. My mother thinks it might be the Airbnb visitors trying to get in, perhaps too drunk to fit the key into the hole. She opens wearing her nightgown (knowing my mother probably more accurately a ripped t-shirt). No Airbnb guests. Instead, policemen with torches. A whole squad. The main one, the white one, tells my mother that they are looking for Jack (name changed to protect his identity). He did not appear in court for his trial some months earlier. We know that. Because Jack is no longer around. At the time of his bail hearing he was living in an old abandoned government building illegally rented out by the securities who were supposed to prevent people from entering the property and so for lack of an offical address and asylum papers we helped to bail him out with some paper work and affidavit stating that he would be residing with us until his trial. But before the day of his trial he disappeared. Incase the police are reading this (lol) we do not know where Jack is. He probably went back home to Zim. Oh by the way, yes, Jack is black and Jack is from Zim. Sorry, I realise the fake name might have been misleading, you probably pictured a white jock from Bishops, lol.

Now, you would not think that a man accused of stealing a wallet would have to flee a country. But there it is, the precariousness of being an African migrant with expired papers, living from piece job to piece job, living in an illegally squatted building (and paying rent for it fyi, and not little either!) in a  justice system that takes the time to knock on doors at 2am to find you because you – allegedly – picked up a wallet from the street. You would think South Africa did not have one of the highest murder and rape rates in the world with this type of dedication on behalf of law enforcement. This by the way is not just a sobby story about the terrible state of affairs of the country but also a great story of how you can help individual people if you have the means to. For instance by bailing out someone who cannot bail out themselves or by buying a bus ticket for someone to return to their home country. Again incase the police are reading this, we did not do that. Lol.