Culture of victim-blaming

“You should not have screamed.”

Right.  Because, when they shot him, they did so in cold blood, already mostly having left the premises, while the alarm was going.  Why could they not simply have left?  No:  They didn’t get their “loot”, and one spotted that he was unarmed, so he was shot.  Probably point-blank.  That was nothing but pure malice.  It had nothing to do with me having screamed and everything with their own decision.

If I had not screamed, they would have shot my daughter, point-blank.  She doesn’t doubt this for a second. The one who pointed a gun into her face, had cold, “dead” eyes that clearly indicated not a shred of humanity or mercy, and the strong likelihood of tripping on Nyaope – street drug made with a mix of poisons here.

In fact, had I not screamed, they’d probably had their violent little “party” with all of us – and in none of those imaginary scenarios can I see Iain surviving, as he would have attacked them the second he was aware of them.  And they would have shot him anyway.  And people would say to me – “you should have screamed”.  If I’d been around to tell the tale.  Which is unlikely, with these monsters.

Listen, victim-blamers:  My scream did not pull the trigger.

Saying I should not have screamed is like saying (as happens so often in court), the girl who was raped should have been wearing more “demure” clothing.  Excuse me?  Was it her clothing that raped her?  How are we living in a culture where even friends and relatives take the guilt of the criminal and place it on the shoulders of the victim for some or other little detail that might or might not have influenced the criminal’s decision?

Today we are holding Iain’s wake.  For his friends and most of his family (the more removed family) this is good closure and will be a final farewell.  After that they accept that he is gone.  For us, it is something we do to honour him and remember him; but nothing can ever bring closure and let us “move on”.  Our lives have altered irreversibly.  Even if the criminals were caught, drawn and quartered, this would only bring the satisfaction that they will never do it to another family.  Sadly that’s not the kind of country we live in.

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Cheers!

 

Next item – self-defence

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I made him a promise.

That promise included not only raising our children well but also keeping them safe.  And teaching them how to keep themselves safe.  Until they are old enough to be independent.

So.  That means self-defence classes.  Got the contact, haven’t yet started but it is high up on the list.  Learned a few moves in the interim.  It’s about practice, we have to train our bodies to move correctly, instinctively.  I know all about teaching your muscles to memorize moves – that’s what I do every day with my students!  So, kids, work lying ahead.

Today Iain’s absence is like a physical pain in my heart-stomach area.  (We used to make fun of this – every “heartache” was re-diagnosed as a stomachache.)

The website is down, by the way, but please do not worry.  It’s something I need to sort out with the web host, which will be sorted once there is time.  I’ve been thinking of redoing the entire site elsewhere anyway, because the old system is cumbersome and not very functional (has limitations that were never addressed).  Iain had all sorts of fresh ideas for P’kaboo and of course I’ll do my best to implement them.  Once there is a bit of time and space again and I’m out of this state of suspended animation.  In the interim, all our books that are on Amazon and Smashwords are still 100% on those sites, so if you’re looking for a specific title, try Amazon first.  (Smashwords second, it’s only my own books up there as yet.)

Iain also was working on a third album.  This may take some time and some sleuthing on my part but I’ll try to get it out there too, inasfar as he has recorded.

Three days before he was murdered like that, I started getting the feeling as though there were a veil across the sun – as though I didn’t have enough days left to waste time away from my family!  It was an eerie feeling but I shrugged it off as one does with something one doesn’t quite understand.  Also, in December, at some point I was dropping off a young musician at his home after dark, and when I returned home, suddenly Death was on the back seat.  Now, Death has accompanied me before on the roads at night and I’ve never been scared of him, but this time I was absolutely terrified, so spooked that I turned into a well-lit petrol station to get out and search my car, to make sure it was only Death and not some crawling assassin hiding in there!

Strange signs.

The onslaught continues.

So we’re currently not in the house…

… we’ve had alarms tripping on Sunday, Tuesday (3 times) and now this morning at 4:50 am. Clearly the thugs are still at it, intent on plundering the home of their murder victim. What the heck are they hoping to find – gold???

But first on my list of suspects is actually the inept alarm company that failed to protect us in the first place.

Let’s look at this.

  1. Bullet proof vests that look just like theirs (only without the logo)?
  2. The company logs down every time the alarm trips and they physically find nobody (which is, every time), as a “false alarm” and wants to charge extra??
  3. A minimum of 15 minutes wait, every time they are called out?  (I waited up to 23 minutes in the past, too).  What a cushy margin for criminals, if they know this (and of course they do!).
  4. Tuesday they didn’t bother calling me.  When I called and challenged them, 1) they could deduce from my number which address was in question (so it’s not as though I’m not linked!).  2) They told me the contract was in my sister’s name and it was “expired”.   3) They told me that they’d first called my sister’s number, then changed their story and said they called the land line (not the first number they were supposed to call), after that, Iain’s phone.  I asked them if they had it logged that he was deceased (btw, shot dead on their watch), and they had no idea.  Clueless.  “Eet eez not in the log.”  Eventually they claimed that they’d called me on my number at “15:56 in the afternoon”.  I checked my phone log just to be sure.  There was absolutely no call – from anyone!  They were simply lying.
  5. Tuesday also, they claimed the alarm had gone off at “15:56 in the afternoon” – when they failed to call me – but that there was no alarm for around 6pm or 9:30 pm, which were the two alarms my neighbours heard and alerted me to.
  6. Why did they move / remove (I haven’t found them yet) the panic buttons in the house when they changed the alarm setup?  Is that even legal?

And now they call me awake to tell me there was a “burglary” at my house, and a “panic button was pressed”?  I sent in the company I’m hiring to replace them, and everything is quiet.

Who thinks along with me that I have a case?

“Rapunzel”

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(The poster in the background dates this pic to around 2011 or 2012, to one of our P’kaboo promos, that one at the Scout Hall.  The rope was the original rope he bought for the launch of the first Solar Wind, and it must have come apart – so he spliced it.)

“A Tensional Guitarist”

“So what are you calling your method?”

“Hmm…. wait, I’ve got it:  A Tensional Guitarist.”

Me (baffled) :”Why?”

He (laughs).  “Because it’s about tensions.  And attention.  Guitarists must pay attention to get a tension right.” (smirks) “Can’t half call it ‘Attention-deficient Guitarists’, can I?”  (laughs at own joke).

Me:  “But what is a ‘tension’?”

He (laughs at me) “What is attention?  Hmm, that will be difficult to explain…”

Me: “No, man!  You know what I mean!”

He (laughs some more because he just loves teasing me, even when his funniness is a bit lame and he knows it) “It comes from Jazz.  When you have a perfect chord, and you change one note to create tension…”

Me: “So, a dissonance?”

He:  “Guess that’s what you classical people call it.”

Aha.

And then there was that book launch in Durbs…

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Never stop courting

:’-(  I’m sorry peeps, another Friday without story post.  Instead I would like to share just a little bit more Iain magic.

We were in the car on Wednesday, the 18th of January, picking up our son from high school after helping our daughter queue for university registration.  I had asked Iain to drive, because I was exhausted, but Wildest One and I were in the car with him, as well as our oldest daughter R.

On the way home, Iain and I fell into our usual bantering, with our son making some or other slightly off-dry teenage comment.  As an answer Iain instructed him very seriously that if you want to keep your girlfriend / wife happy, never stop courting.  It was actually very funny hearing this serious marital advice given to a 15-year-old.  But I’m glad he did.

It is true too.  There are probably not many places in Pretoria that we didn’t explore and “honeymoon” at.  We stopped in for coffee at a coffee shop whenever we were out together.  There were countless times we took the kids to a family restaurant so they could bounce on the jumping castles while we’d have some glorious conversation.  “Get their bounces out” was a standard expression.  “Somewhere green” was another; parks in Pretoria beware, here we came.  Another such mission was the “poster run” – a very functional event where we would load the kids in the car on a Saturday or Sunday and drive from shopping mall to mall, putting up our lesson posters all over town.  (These runs resulted in some good growth of the studio, both sides of it.)  And then there were “dream drives”.

These consisted of all of us cruising slowly through the richest parts of town goggling at the beautiful mansions and gardens, the way you’d go and view a castle in Scotland when on holiday.  Rich people and their architects have incredible imagination where it comes to beautiful homes and gardens.

*

“Federi,” said Paean worriedly, “how long is twenty years?”

The Romany shook his head.

“Blink of an eye,” he said. “Try living from day to day without much purpose. Time just snaps by. Sometimes feels like forever. Sometimes feels like a nanosecond.”

She thought of him sitting in the storage bay between his boxes, making woodcarvings.

“Anyway,” added the Tzigan, “I measure my life in events, not years.”

Events? On the Solar Wind?

“So when was the last great event?” asked Paean, curious.

“Thirtieth March, twenty-one sixteen,” said Federi, glancing out through the porthole with a dreamy smile. “Three fugitive musicians hired for the Solar Wind in Dublin.”

Paean grinned. Aw, right!

“Actually, no,” Federi corrected himself, catching her eye. “Seventh May twenty-one sixteen. Win a bottle of dirt-cheap rum off Ronan Donegal. For a bet that’s right up my alley!”

*

Oh.  Seems to be a little story post after all.

That snippet is from “The Assassin”, and I remember distinctly when I wrote it and read it back to Iain.  He actually said at the same moment as I read it to him:  “Events?  On the Solar Wind?”

Twenty years did snap by in the blink of an eye.  But when I think back on them, the 26 years that ended this year on the 19th of January, they are jam-packed with sunshiny moments, from the night I met him right to the last evening when he still sang loudly with a friend, paraphrasing Sting:  “That’s not the shape of my liver!”

We did not get all our dreams.  That beach teahouse that we wanted to run, with an underground pub underneath it?  Stayed in dreams.  The trip around the world, visiting (by boat) all the places the Solar Wind sailed?  It happened in our hearts.  My writing my family to financial freedom?  Well, my writing brought us closer than ever and it was endless fun for all involved, including those amazing launches (he mostly organized).  But you know what?  On some level we got all our dreams, because we had them together.

We should have grown old together.  That is the part that pains me endlessly.  We should have had at least another 20 or 30 such years, but hey – the years we did get were filled with gold.  Memory gold.  Jam-packed.

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3 weeks

Hard to believe that 3 weeks have passed.  I must have been in a coma (and still am because nothing has changed).

I still can’t believe it, that they took him.

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Why the hell did they have to shoot?  He was unarmed, he was a musician!  An entertainer!  Harmless.  Sweet.  Spreading joy and music and even teaching others the ability to do the same, for a living!  Who the hell would want to kill someone like that???

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I can’t believe I took a wrong turn and walked into a different universe – one in which Iain is a spirit.  He is not gone.  I have not “lost” my forever love.  But not being able to give him a quick hug or make him a cuppa – that is slowly, surely driving me crazy.

Some days I just get aggressive with everyone.  Sometimes (several times a day) that blooming tsunami comes over and throws my boat upside down.  My daughter has bought me a “Delta Dawn” hat and black veil to wear on those days when I just don’t want anyone near – of course that 🙂 is not viable in public, but I know I will in the quiet of my home, once we have a place to stay.

Because that is the other thing.  We’ve been driven out of our home.  We’re hiding out with my parents, and everything has turned into a logistic nightmare.  Why?  Because both my daughter and I saw the thugs’ faces.  They want no witnesses, and of course, in South Africa, criminals don’t get caught and punished, they get human rights instead (the “right” to privacy:  Though it is technically possible to track them by their own cellphones and the ones they stole, the police “isn’t allowed to” act on such data).  One gets the impression that here, criminals get rewarded.  So clearly they are not behind bars.  Still roaming the streets terrorizing and murdering more families.  And waiting for us to return to that cursed house so they can try again.

What we need, is Shadow and his “Cheetaahs” (and I don’t mean the sports team).  Dammit that that is only fiction.

 

 

Friday… (sorry no story post yet)

Iain was planning to do a lot of ebook launches this year, and he had a whole lot of new ideas for this.

Without him by my side, it will be that much more difficult to organize such events.  Iain loved events.  He loved speaking to a crowd, and singing to a crowd, and socializing with people during an event, it was simply his scene.

There is a dance move we used to do (it’s a very similar move we used to play as kids, my friends and I).  I have to say, it quickly clears the dance floor if there is not enough space!

You stand facing each other and take each other’s hands, but crossed over, right hand takes right hand and left hand takes left hand, so that they cross over each other in the middle between you. Start of standing close together, otherwise it doesn’t work so well.

Then you start spinning around that invisible axis made by your hands and your feet.  Lean back, balance your weights perfectly and spin.  It works when partners are pretty much equal.  Keep your feet together, centred directly under where your hands are, and lean back into the momentum.

Seen from above, you, your arms and hands create a figure-of-eight or an infinity sign.

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(This image is from here: https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-6366227-stock-footage-romantic-young-couple-silhouette-dancing-on-the-meadow-holding-hands-and-spinning-around-on-a.html)

With a straight spine

*insert image of angry dragon here*

We’re picking up the pieces.

Children deeply traumatized, each in own way.  Back to school, back to Uni, not yet back to homeschool.  Difficult times ahead.  Work schedule for me at least planned out again for the Studio (starting tomorrow, minus the venue of our house).

Me, all I can say is:  Beware!  I’m planning to bring down the wrath of the Immortals on those spooks who did this to us!

We’re holding our Iain a hero’s send-off on the 25th of Feb.  Those who are interested and know us personally, contact me for details.

I want to hold him close and selfishly keep him for myself only, but he was a very public and outgoing person, so I won’t take that away from him.  The world will hear about this!  Dammit, I’ve had enough of gangsters ruling it over honest people!  The more people contact me, the more I realize the immense influence he had – as a wonderful musician simply giving joy, fun and light, sharing, sharing his overflowing joy for life with roomfuls, pubfuls, wherever-he-went-fuls of people.  It feels to me as though all of Pretoria knew him and is mourning.

I have been very selfish ignoring calls and messages but I’ll rally round and get going with that too.  I can’t say things will be alright, they will never be alright again; but they might just return to being functional.  I’m working hard on it.

At his first workplace they called him “Ufundi” due to his amazing philosophical ideas.  I have looked up what Google thinks it means, and see there are a lot of definitions, but the translation they gave me back then was “wise man” and “knowledgeable man”.  (Remember here in SA we don’t have Swahili, we have Zulu and Xhosa.)

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Still dancing, across the mortal divide… will never stop dancing