When did things go horribly wrong?
THIS week has been in my life, a very newsy week, and that is something any news person, especially a news editor who thrives on the influx of news for her daily sustenance, a great thing.
Human interest stories are my thing, and the more they come in the better I feel. I mean, they speak to the heart, to the human being, and to the core of who we are, because we are human beings, after all.
They talk to the goings on in society, what happens when politicians go back home and leave the limelight of the boardroom?
What lies beneath the façade celebrities hide under when they appear in public to create the impression life is a bed of roses and that nothing touches the interior of their sponsored outfits, professionally done hairdos, well cut suits and soft skin? Because under all of that they are human.
There is a large segment of society that lives without that sheen that covers reality, whose reality is laid bare for all to see, all the time.
And these are, for me, the people who matter. This week we had a story in the High Court, of a young girl, a 14-year-old from the leafy ‘burbs of Centurion, who fell prey to reality. Reality being responding to a Facebook ad on the once popular Blesser Finder phenomenon.
The girl, who was barely a teenager when she fell prey to this ugly thing, one day boarded a taxi from home and descended into the shack town of Brazzaville – a far cry from her cosmopolitan community, and, said one of the accused this week, insisted she wanted to be blessed.
She went into a shack, one of many tin rooms around which was nothing but dusty roads and pit latrines, wherein she, the accused claims, was given a meal laced with poison.
That was meant to kill her, but she did not die, so the three men with whom she was inside that dark and dingy room, proceeded to tie a shoelace around her neck and strangle her to death. And in their initial court case, they admitted this was so they could steal her phone, which they would sell.
They then tied her arms and legs, covered her in sheets and put her into a bag, waited until night to carry her the short distance to a pit latrine around which the traffic of people was constant, and then dumped her.
The girl’s frantic parents spent a month searching for her, and when one of her friends eventually came forward to tell the police her friend had responded to a blesser ad, the police were able to link her to the body found in the latrine.
The body, forensic pathologists said, was so badly decomposed it was hard to tell if it was that of a boy or girl. It took DNA tests to determine it was the missing child, and I imagine they reacted in shock.
But herein lies the biggest question – what drove her to respond to the ad? Why did she take a taxi when other older women were driven in luxurious vehicles to the blessing station?
Why did she, at the point of getting off the taxi, proceed to the point where she realised it was not right?
At what point did she realise things had gone horribly wrong?
I am haunted by this, and every day I talk to my own almost teenage daughter about the dangers that lurk beyond the protective cover I provide.
I beg her to always let me in on her actions, her wants, her needs and desires, and trust that what I cannot or will not give, is for her – or my, own good.