Cape Town - Keagan de Silver from Hanover Park was shot and killed. Photographer: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Our hearts bleed for the De Silver family at their tragic loss of peace ambassador Keagan. Seventeen years old, eager to follow his brother to Grade 12. Brave and adult in joining Professor Williams who came to teach them about peace and civic pride.

Obedient to principal Heinrich Bowers, who exhorted his teachers to encourage these children to write about their fears and dreams.

Encouraged by fellow-student Michaela Carolus and the other warriors from schools like Crystal, whose Inga Habe wrote the first article for the platform created by the Cape Argus. And the grandmother and mother who looked forward to a future that was not to be.

What does one say? Do we whisper helpless words of comfort or break out in a diatribe of anger and disappointment at this desolation? In either case, we cannot heal the amputation, the permanent severance, the dream deferred. As the writer, when asked to comment on death said sombrely: “death is so final”.

We ask questions. Where were the police, the home guard, the safe houses, the army? How can a 17-year-old be shot at five times? One bullet was enough to kill. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. What is the right place and when is the right time? What kind of unspeakable mayhem has been set loose in our communities?

I am required to display a visible licence in order to drive my car, which is also a potential weapon for slaughter.

What if Keagan had been knocked down (God forbid) by me? There would be swift action in terms of legality, competence, responsibility, accountability.

Why aren’t the gunslingers held to account? Where do they obtain these lethal killing tools and the ammunition?

Natasha Williams is a grieving mother after her grade 11 child, Keagan de Silver was killed. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

I am speaking to Keagan and Michaela at Mount View, and Inga, Samuel Stoffberg, Chelsea Davids and Faseega Rossie at Crystal. There are many others like you at surrounding schools.

We know how to teach you, but no amount of knowledge helps us deal with the fears you suffer, the pain you feel.

You are not victims, my young warriors. You stood up when the call came.

We need to take an audit and see who should have come, but didn’t. I have written before about school grounds being killing fields. Now the streets are killing fields. Where do they fall next in this wanton killing spree? In the churches and mosques?

This lawlessness is not being addressed. The ones who should help are strategising for an election!

The madness has to stop. My words are weak and battered because it hurts so badly to say goodbye to a loved one.

I have gone through that pain. It doesn’t go away and it doesn’t help to be angry. When will the killing stop?

* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

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