It didn’t dawn on me that I was being mugged until he said “give me your phone”. Up until that point, I thought he was a beggar trying to get some money by pretending to help. I was walking up the highway ramp and there was no other soul in sight. “FU¢KING SH!T”, I thought to myself and I felt my chest contract and my heartrate speed up. I immediately crossed the highway. Luckily I remembered to look the “wrong” way (in South Africa, they drive on the left side of the road). It was raining hard by then. I couldn’t see very well through my wet glasses which I kept wiping with my wet fingers. After a few steps, the homeless guy crossed the highway and was coming towards me.
How did I end up in this situation? I was at the Donkin memorial in Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha if you can pronounce the clicks), checking out the Route 67 art walk. Sadly because of the lockdowns and lack of tourism, it’s all run down and deserted now. I found myself under the highways with no one in sight and I didn’t feel safe to wait for an Uber there. I consulted Google maps and decided to keep walking. That’s when this guy appeared out of the blue and said “what are you doing here?”. He saw that I have a phone. SH!T!
He crossed the highway after me, intercepted my path, grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me and yelled “give me your phone”. I said “OK, OK. I’ll give you some money”. He let go. I dug in my pocket, came up with R20 ($1.4) and gave it to him. He took the money and walked away. Just like that. A microbus taxi came by. I waved it down and hopped in. I was warned against riding those, but under the circumstances, it was the safer option.
I was quite shaken and had a good cry when I got home. Even though nothing serious happened, for which I’m super grateful, the incident reignited my trauma of not feeling safe. My guess is that the guy was more of an oppotunist than a professional criminal. I’m thanking my lucky stars, guardian angels, all the Goddesses and Gods of the universe, past, present and future for my safety.
As I’m working on restoring my faith in humanity, I ran to mother Nature, for she is my healer. Meet some of my therapists…
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