THERE was a knock on the window, a flash of a gun and suddenly he was on top of me. “Don’t move, don’t shout, don’t say anything,” he whispered in my ear. His voice was calm but there was something in his tone that told me to do exactly as he asked or else…
Rewind to an hour earlier, my colleague Cindy Waxa and I were chatting and making jokes on our way to a job in Nyanga. I told her about how excited I was about my pending leave on Thursday.
We parked on the side of the road, a busy thoroughfare with people walking up and down, and shops lining the street. Cindy got out of the car to take pictures. I remained in the passenger seat, windows closed and doors locked. From the car I scanned the area; a little further away a group of guys stood facing us.
They were too far away to try anything because we would see them coming and they looked like they were guys having a morning chat. We didn’t see them as a threat. We’ve been in uncomfortable situations before. When we sensed danger, our eyes would meet and we would drive off. We didn’t see this one coming.
After five minutes she came back into the car, closed the door and put her camera between the seats. There was suddenly a guy standing next to her, he opened her door. I heard him say “hello” and then things started moving in slow motion. There was a tap on my window. I turned my head and came face to face with the barrel of a gun. “Open the door,” he shouted.
I opened the door. He got on top of me, pinned me down to my seat. “Where is the money, where is your phone?” he asked. I pointed at my bag between my legs while I tried to squeeze free. “Don’t move, stay in the car!”
The other guy told Cindy to get out of the car and leave her keys. “It’s a company car, don’t fight it just leave it,” he said.
The next thing I know we’re standing on the pavement and watching them drive off. It happened so fast, yet it felt like hours. Stripped, is how I felt afterwards. Just like that, I almost died.
“It happened so quickly and felt so unreal as if I was watching a movie. When the guy came to me he even had a smile on his face. I didn’t see him as a threat,” said Cindy.
This was the second time she’d been robbed. The first incident was five years ago between Manenberg and Nyanga. “It won’t stop me from doing my job. I will keep on taking pictures,” she said.