Year stained with sor­row, shame

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THERE was plenty of bad news, but 2013 also had its far share of tri­umphs, quirk­i­ness, and even a touch of the bizarre.

Be­sides the reper­cus­sions of dra­matic weather pat­terns, the year also saw some hor­rific bus and other road ac­ci­dents, tragic school stab­bings and the loss of many much-loved cit­i­zens.

But it also had home­com­ings, dare­devil an­tics and celebrity vis­its from the likes of Barack Obama, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and oth­ers.

It will also, how­ever, be re­mem­bered as the year Anene Booy­sen died and be­came one of the faces of on­go­ing vi­o­lence against women through­out South Africa. It was, per­haps iron­i­cally, also the year which saw no­to­ri­ous gang leader, Rashied Stag­gie, granted pa­role ( which was later re­voked), two-thirds into his sen­tence for or­der­ing the gang rape of a girl of 17.

In some cases, events left cit­i­zens reel­ing: there was the stab­bing to death – dur­ing a fight on a school bus – of Grade 11 pupil Uviwe Mzin­gelwa; the shock­ing mur­ders of for­mer Western Prov­ince crick­eter John Com­mins and Stel­len­bosch aca­demic Dr Louis Heyns, while Cape Town train­ing con­sul­tant James Thomas was mourned af­ter be­ing killed in the at­tack on the West­gate Mall in Nairobi in Septem­ber.

The city reeled when, months af­ter be­ing re­ported miss­ing, the body of Clovelly mother Rose­mary Theron, 39, was found in a shal­low grave. Shortly af­ter, her teenage daugh­ter, Phoenix Rac­ing Cloud, ap­peared in court with two accomplices, charged with the al­leged mur­der.

There were shock re­ports that renowned Cape Town artist Zwelethu Mthethwa had been charged with the mur­der of a sex worker.

Then there were the home­com­ings; 2013 will more hap­pily be re­called as the year in which the much-loved mu­si­cian Sixto Rodriguez came “home” to Cape Town again to per­form for his ador­ing fans. Dr Cyril Karabus re­turned home af­ter his nine- month or­deal in Abu Dhabi – and Cape Town surfer Brett Archibald re­turned to Cape Town af­ter a 48- hour or­deal at sea af­ter fall­ing over­board in In­done­sia.

It def­i­nitely wasn’t a good start to the year for many Capeto­ni­ans, when 2013 lit­er­ally stormed in, storm-strength winds driv­ing waves of flame through densely-packed shacks in Khayelit­sha, caus­ing the worst fire in the city for five years – end­ing in the deaths of three peo­ple, the dis­place­ment of 4 000, and the de­struc­tion of more than 300 shacks.

Twee­de­nuwe­jaar (Jan­uary 2) was more up­beat, with New­lands fans giv­ing one of our favourite cricket sons – Jac­ques Kal­lis – a rous­ing ova­tion when he reached 13 000 Test runs, an ex­pe­ri­ence he later said was one of the most mov­ing days of his life.

Warn­ing bells rang on Jan­uary 6, when dis­grun­tled Western Cape farm­work­ers took to the streets to de­mand higher wages. Po­lice used rub­ber bul­lets and stun grenades to dis­perse the crowds.

On another tack, Jan­uary 24 saw sis­ter and brother Sa­heerah, 16, and Hi­laal, 13, Dra­mat kicked out of Eben Donges High in Kraaifontein for wear­ing tra­di­tional Is­lamic head­gear – but the duo re­turned to class af­ter dis­cus­sions be­tween the prin­ci­pal and depart­ment of­fi­cials.

Fe­bru­ary kicked in with the hor­rific news that 17-year-old teenager Anene Booy­sen had been raped and mu­ti­lated at a con­struc­tion site in Bredas­dorp – a mur­der which co­in­cided with the re­lease of sta­tis­tics that re­vealed that six rape cases are re­ported to the po­lice ev­ery hour in South Africa.

Days later, Capeto­ni­ans joined forces in the city cen­tre to voice their out­rage against the ram­pant rape in the coun­try – while singer-song­writer An­nie Len­nox, who has made the city home, was present to add her voice to the cause.

In March, the spot­light fell on Khayelit­sha when sus­pected rob­ber Lindile Maci was beaten, stoned and burnt to death in the town­ship – the fourth at­tack by a mob in Cape Town since Jan­uary.

March was marked by another shock event – a bus ac­ci­dent on the Hex River Pass on March 15, which claimed 24 lives and be­came the fo­cus of three ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Another event which cap­tured the at­ten­tion of whale lovers and or­di­nary Capeto­ni­ans alike was the beach­ing of dozens of whales on Long Beach in Kom­metjie.

Al­though au­thor­i­ties and dol­phin ac­tion groups ral­lied to try to save them, none of the whales sur­vived.

The Easter Weekend saw three peo­ple die and hun­dreds left home­less as fires swept through parts of Cape Town, in­clud­ing Gugulethu, leav­ing three peo­ple dead, many shacks de­stroyed and dozens home­less.

Also in April, the rape of an 18-year-old Nor­we­gian stu­dent – while her boyfriend was tied up by two armed men on Sig­nal Hill – in the early hours of April 7 sparked an emer­gency meet­ing be­tween SANParks and the city about the spate of moun­tain at­tacks.

Mid- April saw the lit­eral “end of the road” for Ver­wo­erd as some of the city’s ma­jor roads cel­e­brated a range of street re­nam­ings and, later in April, some of the same streets were flooded when SA Weather Ser­vices re­ported about 50mm of rain in the city and in the Over­berg.

On April 18, Camps Bay surfer Brett Archibald was re­ported miss­ing at sea af­ter fall­ing over­board while sail­ing in the Mentawal is­lands off Su­ma­tra in In­done­sia. Af­ter a 28-hour or­deal in the sea, tread­ing wa­ter and float­ing, he was spot­ted by the crew of a boat – and was wel­comed home 10 days later.

April was also the month of ex­tended bus strikes, leav­ing com­muters in the lurch and dis­rupt­ing work flow.

May kicked off with Be­lieber fever in the Mother City, with thou­sands flock­ing to the Cape Town Sta­dium for the Justin Bieber con­cert – in a month which also saw Bon Jovi per­form.

In mid- May, ma­tric pupil Glen­rico Martins, 17, died in hos­pi­tal, hours af­ter be­ing shot in front of class­mates at Spes Bona High School in Athlone as the first school­bells were ring­ing. Cape Flats pas­tor Ivan Waldeck, 45 – a for­mer gang­ster who me­di­ates among Cape Flats gangs – sur­vived af­ter be­ing shot, eight times, near Bel­lville while on his way home from church.

In a por­tent of what was to come later in the year, strik­ing jan­i­tors, re­spon­si­ble for clean­ing com­mu­nal toi­lets, man­aged to shut down a sec­tion of the N2 high­way in late May, fol­low­ing ear­lier strike ac­tion.

May 17 brought much ju­bi­la­tion when Pro­fes­sor Cyril Karabus was wel­comed back to Cape Town af­ter his ninemonth or­deal in de­ten­tion in Abu Dhabi, af­ter be­ing found guilty in ab­sen­tia on charges of man­slaugh­ter and fraud fol­low­ing the death of a three-yearold pa­tient he treated for leukaemia in 2002.

May was also the month in which Stel­len­bosch aca­demic and pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Louis Heyns, 59, was mur­dered and his body left in a shal­low grave in the Strand. He dis­ap­peared af­ter leav­ing his brother’s home in Som­er­set West.

In early June, the weather once again grabbed the head­lines, when “all hail broke loose” and se­vere storms wreaked havoc across the prov­ince in a rude win­ter awak­en­ing.

In June, the so-called poo wars kicked in, with pro­test­ers emp­ty­ing fae­ces from por­ta­ble toi­lets at the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture to protest against the de­liv­ery of por­ta­ble rather than fixed flush toi­lets to in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

The dump­ing of hu­man waste con­tin­ued at a num­ber of venues, in­clud­ing Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port, as protests con­tin­ued.

In July the world cel­e­brated Nel­son Man­dela’s birth­day, hold­ing its col­lec­tive breath as the states­man’s health took a se­ri­ous turn for the worse.

The same month, re­ports emerged that farm­worker Flip­pie En­gel­brecht had al­legedly been beaten by a Robert­son farmer in an at­tack that left him blind. As the story unfolded, it ap­peared that some parts may have been fab­ri­cated – but not be­fore the sui­cide of Ri­et­vallei Wine Es­tate’s Johnny Burger, one the men ac­cused of the as­sault.

Art lovers were left shocked when the Cape Town- based world-renowned pho­tog­ra­pher and artist Zwelethu Mthethwa ap­peared in the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court, charged with the mur­der of 23-year-old Nokuphila Ku­mala. It was al­leged that Mthethwa re­peat- edly beat and kicked her in Wood­stock in the early hours of April 14 – and was linked to the crime via video footage.

In late Septem­ber, within hours of the bru­tal at­tack by uniden­ti­fied gun­men at the West­gate Shop­ping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Capeto­ni­ans across the spec­trum united in their grief at the news that Cape Town train­ing con­sul­tant James Thomas was among the dead.

Septem­ber also saw the re­lease of for­mer Hard Liv­ings gang leader Rashied Stag­gie on day pa­role from Pollsmoor Prison af­ter serv­ing 11 years of a 15-year sen­tence for kid­nap­ping and or­der­ing the rape of a teenager.

His pa­role was re­voked early this month, but not be­fore he joined the Pa­tri­otic Al­liance, a new po­lit­i­cal party headed by for­mer con­victs Gay­ton McKen­zie and Kenny Kunene.

On Oc­to­ber 29, within days of Anene Booy­sen’s 18th birth­day, Jana Kana was con­victed of her mur­der and rape. Days later, he was handed a dou­ble life sen­tence.

The end of Oc­to­ber saw chaos erupt in Cape Town dur­ing a march by a group call­ing it­self the Cape Town In­for­mal Set­tle­ments group, when break­away groups started loot­ing stalls be­long­ing to in­for­mal traders.

While most Capeto­ni­ans al­ready know they live in one of the best cities in the world, this knowl­edge was rub­ber­stamped when Lonely Planet put Cape Town at num­ber three in its an­nual guide of top des­ti­na­tions, af­ter Paris and Trinidad.

This news came as the city pre­pares for its sta­tus as World De­sign Cap­i­tal 2014 – in a year which prom­ises a feast in de­sign for all.

And how can 2013 not be re­mem­bered as the Grand Pa­rade’s busiest time ever as thou­sands upon thou­sands of Capeto­ni­ans paid trib­ute to Nel­son Man­dela, lay­ing wreaths, at­tend­ing me­mo­rial ser­vices – or just say­ing a silent prayer.


EV­ERY­ONE LOVED YOU: Stella Buck­land was among thou­sands who left flo­ral tributes to Nel­son Man­dela at the Grand Pa­rade.


POINT MADE: The N2 high­way is blocked dur­ing a so-called poo protest.


BE­LIEBER FEVER: Justin Bieber per­formed at the Cape Town Sta­dium.


BRIEFLY FREED: For­mer gang boss Rashied Stag­gie vis­ited his fam­ily in Wood­stock af­ter he was re­leased on pa­role.

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