The week of chaos, finding food & loving one another

On Sunday 11 July 2021, midday – we were picnicking at a local waterfall. Beautiful, peaceful, wintery cool but sunny. Kids approached and advised us to go home, now, – riots and danger in the next village, and throughout KwaZulu-Natal. From dream to nightmare.

OUR PROVINCE IS BURNING DOWN & BEING LOOTED

Phew, home safely, tv on……. oh my word! Chaos had erupted all around us! Former President Zuma’s imprisonment that week had brought massive trouble.

LET ME TELL YOU HOW 7 DAYS UNFOLDED (we lost track of the days to be honest)

Looting, burning, shooting, invading – food, medicine & fuel shortages, fear and the absence of government security forces to quell the violence – followed by plans of action and resilience as communities held hands to fight this invasion ourselves.

Excerpts of how the week rolled on social media and in our home follow:

Supermarkets, Malls and Warehouses were looted, destroyed, burnt down – leaving a food shortage. We began to forage, queue and barter for goods.

On Monday everyone stayed home, all businesses closed, looting turned into a frenzy and the burning began. The freeway was deserted – creepy. Adrenaline kicked in. No sleep. High alert.

QUEUES FOR FOOD BEGAN AT 4AM – anyone have a cow?

Monday night we realised we were all running low on food and queues started at 4am the following day. Some queued for 8 hours hoping to find some edibles remaining on shelves. At 3pm folks at the end of lines were sent home, empty handed. 2 reservoirs were attacked. One electrical sub-station was blown up. We started to store water, found candles, solar lights and base ball bats. We cleaned our cupboards and asked for bread and oat milk recipes.

Vets & pet shops had sold every last packet of food by day’s end. A cat loving friend found food for Scamper, thank God.

SURVIVAL REALITY CHECK

On Tuesday night, survival and ingenuity kicked in. I started contacting farmers who could supply fresh produce. A plan comes together amidst the stress and worry. By now police were few and far between, private security companies and residents in each area were patrolling, forming blockades and protecting the older and weaker within their suburbs. Still no sleep all night. We packed essentials incase we had to move out – a friend had called to suggest we go to her (join her 2 dogs, 2 cats in a one bed cottage) – kitty cage, ID books, cash & fresh & warm clothing. We live opposite a shopping centre so – go figure the nerves.

HELP, FIRE AT A CAT SANCTUARY

A tearful panicked voice called for help across our media platforms – anyone, please help, anyone?! A fire has started in the bush around our sanctuary. The community rushed to assist, and all kitties lived to tell the tale

An evil, hot wind was blowing in danger and distress.

On Wednesday CASH BECAME king. Note to self – always keep some cash!!!

Looting continued but burning of industrial parks and huge businesses had stepped up frighteningly. People were losing their livelihood and insurance companies must have been pooping themselves by night fall!!!!

Pets were beginning to feel the tension and my kitty became meowey and clingy… but we were so busy driving to farms, offering wifi to patrollers, trading, shopping and watching for suspicious vehicles we couldn’t console her all day …. so she found refuge under the duvet all on her own, poor little mite x. Adrenaline adrenaline. We probably didn’t need food – we were pumping our own juice!

Thursday – where is the army????? Of course we realise our politics in South Africa is multi layered but this war is about our ex President being sent to prison and his cronies instigating violence and anarchy. He wants out. He wants to be let off all charges of massive theft from our beautiful country.

All ages, all races, all genders pulled together to guard, find food, sell food, advise which fuel stations had diesel & queue for the sick. We met our neighbours, and neighbours neighbours. Messages of love filtered through social media from friends and family across the world. ADRENALINE still PUMPED! It was quite stimulating to be honest. Stuff Brexit, Donald Trump & Covid!

MUSLIMS PRAY – CHRISTIANS GUARD THEM

On a Friday Muslims pray at lunch time, we have a large community in Durban who were too scared to go to their Mosque for prayers. You know what, the Christians surrounded their Mosque in Durban North to keep them safe during their holy hour. Isn’t this amazing.

A WEDDING DRESS FOUND IN THE ASHES – thank you Kate Broodryk

One week later we are counting the cost, reeling at the job losses, worrying about businesses that have suffered and even closed. Getting together to clean up and rebuild – many for free or cost price.

Please scroll down past the Like button to the comments section and share your experience. Hank you.

I will end on a positive note and thank my friends for offering us, and Scampi, a refuge if necessary, sharing food and calls of support. Thank you beautiful Upper Highway, Kloof community for being so wonderful, it’s been fantastic meeting so many new folk who share our air. Bless musicians for playing to the long queues on freezing winter mornings.

The purses are empty but our hearts are full.

Please pray for us, that nothing more sinister is brewing. Elections have been postponed due to Covid – this is a fine tight rope everyone is balancing on.