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Johannesburg - Hiding in someone’s house in Sasolburg, my throat burning from teargas, while a man who threatened to kill me waited for me outside, was not how I imagined my day would go.
Covering the protests in Zamdela, I arrived at the Free State township with photojournalist Bongiwe Mchunu at about 9am on Tuesday.
It was quiet, but that would not last for long.
As we walked around with the crowd, we stopped to capture three burning cars, one of which had been flipped onto its roof, next to the police station.
Suddenly, there was a loud crack as rubber bullets were fired at residents, who then turned and ran towards us.
It was like swimming with a shoal of fish that suddenly changed direction.
Eventually, a police Nyala came roaring towards us, and we ran for cover as the cops fired rubber bullets and teargas.
We took cover outside a house and watched as the Nyala cruised past at high speed and shots were fired from the vehicle.
As I was watching out for the Nyala, a man approached me with a rock about the size of two bricks and said I must leave.
“I will kill you,” he said, at which point a resident we had befriended, Lerato Lleti, and other residents pulled him away and told him we were journalists.
He didn’t calm down and smashed the rock on the floor.
Someone shouted “Malome (uncle), get inside!” and pointed to the house along the road where I had been taking cover.
I ran past people hiding at the back of the house and inside, where four women gave me some cooldrink to help with my burning throat.
When the man had gone, Mchunu and I went to check the police station, as we had heard it would be the next target of the protesters.
As we neared the police station, another man began shouting at us from a distance, and as we got closer, he approached us and asked why a mlungu (white person) was there when they wanted to see Free State Premier Ace Magashule.
Mchunu tried to calm the man down and said we were journalists and that I was her colleague.
He ran toward me and also said he would kill me, and I braced myself for a hit before Mchunu and Lleti grabbed his arm.
“I thought, ‘let me just calm this guy down before he does something he will regret later’,” said Mchunu after the incident.
Other residents also pulled him away and told him he was drunk and that we were there to cover the events.
We continued to walk towards the station, but other threats were howled at us, and we decided to head to safety.
As we walked back to our vehicle, a car drove past and a man leaned out the window and pointed a panga at me.
Although there were threats of violence, these came from a handful of people, while the thousands of other people were helpful and friendly.