At the time of writing, there was still no word on the fate of the four Polokwane brothers kidnapped on Wednesday morning.
Social media feeds were awash with requests for prayers for their safe return.
One feels for their parents ‒ it’s every parent’s worst nightmare come true, four times over.
Not only are the boys missing, but without any form of communication from the kidnappers, the absence of a reason for their abduction would naturally increase their parents’ anguish.
In this case, with the parents being wealthy, ransom would appear to be the motive.
The incident highlights an important failure in our education system and in society generally: the lack of focus and education on child safety.
With high rates of violence against children in this country, it is critical that the matter is urgently addressed.
Children should be taught how to protect themselves, how to fight back against abduction and rape.
How to attract attention while keeping up the physical battle.
Of course, as in the case of the Moti brothers, who were kidnapped by heavily armed men, sometimes resistance is futile and foolhardy.
Children must know what to do in these circumstances too, to keep themselves safe.
As uncomfortable and scary though they may be, it is vital that parents have these conversations with their children.
Children should know how to react in the event of a hijacking or a home invasion.
They should know that these are not abstract constructs, but the unfortunate daily, harsh reality of life in this country.
At school, the Life Orientation curriculum should be expanded beyond managing stress and not doing drugs, to take in crime, while PT should include self-defence classes. We teach children to swim from a young age both as a life skill and for recreation, so why not teach them to defend themselves?
We can only hope that at the time of reading this, the brothers will have been found safe and sound, and their parents’ nightmare ended.
The Independent on Saturday