It was hot that day in the township of Imbizo and every child was playing in the streets. Brothers and sisters were wearing summer clothes. Every mother was washing her children’s clothing.
I was sitting under the tree shed when I saw my foreign neighbour, Makhaya, come running to his house with blood on his head. He was hurt. His shirt was torn and he was only left with his underwear. Everyone was watching him. Everyone stopped what they were doing and all eyes were on him. All of them were laughing at him. He shouted for help, but everyone kept on laughing. He said to his wife, “Let’s leave here, our lives are in danger.”
After a few minutes of saying that, a crowd of people came to Makhaya’s house, carrying very dangerous weapons, petrol and tires. Makhaya bowed down and cried and said to them, “Please have mercy in us, we have a two-year-old son to look after.”
“Who are you to convince us? You foreigners steal our jobs, take our wives, you don’t deserve to live,” they said. All of them were saying negative things about poor Makhaya. I knew all of them.
All of them had quit school a long time ago and some of them were Nyaope addicts. All people who pretended to love Makhaya were all against him that day. A wise man once said, “When days are dark, friends are few.” It was hard for Makhaya and his wife that day. These people were all shouting, “These foreigners don’t belong here! They must die!” They did not even think about Makhaya’s little son.
That’s when they started putting tires on Makhaya and his wife’s head poured petrol on them and started lighting the first matchstick. The first stick was blown by air. The second matchstick broke, but the third managed to light.
You could see how hurt and scared Makhaya and his wife were by the look in their eyes. Everyone was just shouting, “Alililili”. They threw the matchstick on Makhaya and his wife and they started burning.
They were helpless. They tried to get off the tires, but couldn’t. They burned, screaming for help. Everyone was just watching from a distance. After a few minutes it was all over and after a while, I heard Makhaya’s little daughter crying at the house. These people were still there. They wanted to go and burn Makhaya’s house along with the baby, but one of them stopped them. They started arguing, but the matter was sorted after a few minutes. Where was the police that time? Nobody knows. Makhaya’s boy was still crying. It seemed like he wanted to breastfeed, poor kid did not know that he was now an orphan.
All the people left Makhaya’s house and went to get another foreigner. It seemed like these people enjoyed killing others just for small things and jealousy. The police and ambulance came very late and picked up all the pieces of bodies that were left. What will the police do with all the people who are responsible for Makhaya and his wife’s death? Will they find them and arrest them? I was confused. We are the children of God and we are all equal and loved, so why do we kill each other? We are one!
I was just sitting under the tree shed when all this happened. I should have gone there and talked to them, pleaded for mercy, but I had no leg to walk and I couldn’t walk. I know they wouldn’t have understood my sound language, because I can’t talk. I know they wouldn’t have listened to me even if I had legs and could talk, but I would have stood for my neighbour and showed him love. I was helpless too. But I keep asking myself, “Am I responsible for my neighbour’s death?”