Chapter Twelve – Shooting from the Hip
Another tough day in Africa! Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus watched the evening television news. A white farmer had been murdered on his land outside of Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The killers had also beaten the farmer’s wife to a pulp and had stuck his young son’s head into a bath full of boiling water.
The wife and son were fighting for their lives in a local hospital.
So, President Thabo Mbeki says that land invasions is not a part of South Africa’s culture and the country’s won’t go the way of Zimbabwe, thought the Lieutenant.
Pieter had been a racist, courtesy of the way his parents had raised him. Then he had transformed his mind having met Lindiwe Buthelezi Snr, who had perished while giving birth to Lindiwe Buthelezi Jnr.
It was Lindiwe Jnr who had tamed him even further, despite the warnings of his white cop colleagues. Now both Lindiwe Snr was dead, or so Pieter thoughts, and Lindiwe Jnr was somewhere out there unknown to him.
Pieter was still adamant that his cop colleagues knew more than they were letting on. He had always been a respected member in police circles, but that long weekend trip to Cape Town with Lindiwe, had seemingly made some of his more conservative white colleagues look at him differently.
Through having spent time with Lindiwe Jnr, Pieter had learnt that many white people were two-faced. “Yeah, to the New South Africa” and then when things go wrong: “They should have kept Mandela behind bars on Robben Island, things were fine back then.”
Well not quite. Back then, things were only fine to those who were not in the coalface of the challenge from the ANC’s Liberation Struggle and of course the threat of an Afrikaner military right-wing revolt toppling the de Klerk government.
Pieter let his mind wonder on two fronts. What would he do if he were President?
Well, his first port of call would be to do something about the influx of foreigners over the borders. The fact is that there were not enough jobs for the entire South African population of 50 million-odd, let alone foreigners coming to the country in search of jobs and a better life.
In being a part of the police Pieter knew that many foreigners who were not able to structure a business in South Africa, often got caught up in bad company and had their arm twisted to go the crime route. This is not to say that all African visitors are into crime. Pieter knew that many foreigners abided by the law too.
Of course, to many white South Africans, black was black, irrespective of the country that they came from. White South Africans had lived peacefully under the Apartheid regime, but since things had changed in 1994, the crime rate was skyrocketing.
The television news ended, and Pieter watched a bit of an evening soap opera where he saw a black woman kissing a white man. This was still frowned upon by many middle to older aged South Africans as it was fairly new to them.
In the Apartheid days, the black girls were more seen as domestic workers known as ‘maids’ by the whites and were definitely not viewed as marriage material to the white men.
How things had changed. How Pieter wished that Lindiwe Jnr would walk through the front door of his apartment. Either that or he would shortly awake from this wicked nightmare.
A stressed-out Pieter began to drift off to sleep.
“Lindiwe!” he muttered, as his eyes fell shut.
Yes, there she was walking on the pavement next to a busy Pretoria street. He noticed her red top and blue denim jeans.
“Lindiwe, I am here!” yelled Pieter, as he set off after her.
As he the cop gained speed, so too did the girl. However, she did not even glance at the cop.
“Lindiwe, its alright, I am here!” yelled the Lieutenant.
It was like the girl did not know who Pieter was. It resembled a scene of someone who had just arrived from Planet Mars with no memory of Planet Earth or the past.
Pieter increased his pace but Lindiwe disappeared among a group of people. She was wearing a red blouse and jeans and unfortunately for the cop, so to were all those in the group that she joined. It was like some third force was doing its best to protect and disguise her.
“Lindiwe!” screamed Pieter again, but it did not help.
He checked the faces of each of the people wearing red tops, but not one of them was Lindiwe Jnr. Had the girl yet again disappeared into thin air.
An out-of-breath Pieter stopped running. The situation was pointless. What he could not understand was just why the girl ignored him when he called her name.
If Lindiwe had turned around and looked at him, he could have savoured the moment, but it seemed as if she did not know who he was. Had the third force drugged her? Why did she not respond when Pieter called her name?
Next, a red flow of rage seemed to pass through Pretoria.
Pieter seemed to be swept away by the red wave and saw the house where he grew up in the city. He had been raised by middle class, racist parents, who believed that white people will always be more intelligent that the blacks.
That is what many whites thought prior to 1994. The best jobs went the way of the whites, and all forms of top education went the way of the light skin colour too.
Moments later, he heard screaming and shouting and his face turned pale with fear, as he saw the red wave sweeping away his parents and the house too.
It was like he was experiencing an out-of-body experience and he had landed in hell. He noticed some dragon-like demons holding the arms of his screaming parents.
“Fuck you!” yelled the cop as he charged towards his family.
It was interesting that the red wave did not sweep Pieter away. He seemed to run right through it. Would Pieter treat this as a sign that racism was evil and that he needed to live a life different to his parents?
Or would Pieter go the other way and see the red wave as a sign of the devil taking over the country?
Pieter went for the former. He drew his pistol and fired two shots off at the dragon which was holding a tight grip on his mother’s right arm.
However, the bullets seemed to go right through the monster. The more he ran towards the dragon the further away from him it seemed to go.
What was going on here? Was this the end of the world?
Pieter woke up in a cold sweat. The red wave and the dragons may have been a nightmare, but he had learnt several lessons from it.
If Lindiwe Jnr was out to ignore him and if the devil was taking over the Republic of South Africa, then he needed to defend the nation. No, not the Rainbow Nation, just the nation.
He jumped out of bed, washed his face, and got dressed. He checked his pistol and puffed out his cheeks. Not a bullet had been fired from his pistol, which reconfirmed that what he had experienced was indeed a dream.
Pieter checked the ammunition in the shotgun. To him, he was not losing his mind. He was just a step ahead of the rest of the world.
Pieter was becoming more and more convinced that the Nelson Mandela honeymoon was built on lies. He was seeing a new Mandela, and not a nice one. Based on what he had now learnt, Mandela was a man who had done a superb job in fooling the world about a South African democracy for all.
The cop shook his head. He could not believe that he had fallen for the Mandela vision. Also, he could not believe that he had fallen for Lindiwe Jnr. To him, the girl was now nothing more than a con artist who had manipulated him to help get freedom for her own people, without caring about the whites in the country.
Pieter believe that God had shown him the nightmare dream to warn him of things to come. From here, according to the Bible in the book of Revelations written by the Apostle John, things would only get worse. The world was in the last of the last days, it says in the Holy Book.
He glanced at his mobile phone and saw a missed call from his boss, Colonel Jaap Cornelius.
“Fok jou ook, Jaap (fuck you too, Jaap),” muttered the Lieutenant.
“Jy het alles geweet maar wou nie vir my vertel nie (you knew everything but didn’t want to tell me.”
Last time, Pieter had held back on pulling the trigger on black people walking peacefully near Lilian Ngoyi Square in Pretoria. The cop was not totally hooked on the famous square in the Jacaranda city but was totally sold on the spilling of black blood.
He remembered the slogan of the Knight Rider television series of the 1980s – One man can make a difference.
To Pieter, he was not going to be the problem but rather the solution. Even if he perished, he would be a martyr for the cause. Life was not worth living now that Lindiwe Snr and Lindiwe Jnr were both gone.
Lindiwe Jnr was indeed still alive, Pieter was sure that she was being well-paid by a third force to stay far away from him.
“Niemand maak Pieter Erasmus se naam gat nie (nobody makes a fool of Pieter Erasmus,” he muttered to himself.
He made himself a cup of coffee. If this was the last coffee that would ever pass through his lips then so be it, he thought.
As Pieter made his way down to the street, he noticed a black man dressed in an ANC t-shirt and jeans, walking at speed. How the cop wanted to pull out his pistol and change the world right there. However, he thought better of it.
He thought of all the Apartheid era spies who had made a good living by defending what their ancestors believed in.
Perhaps Pieter Erasmus was just born in the wrong era. Had he been in the mix thirty years earlier, he could have made a good living in bombing the ANC offices and eliminating opponents to the Apartheid system.
“Dis all jou skuld, Lindiwe (it is all your fault, Lindiwe),” uttered the cop, as he climbed into his Toyota Corolla vehicle.
He did not stop for a second to think of what he would do if Lindiwe Jnr came around the corner and charged into his arms.
Right now, Pieter’s mind was made up and this time he would not change course. He now knew for sure which team he was on.
Armed with a boot-load full of ammunition to make a huge negative impact on the New South Africa, Pieter Erasmus drove towards the Lilian Ngoyi Square.
He felt a hunger in his belly. Not a hunger in terms of food, but a feeling of desire to get the job done.
Two taxis filled with black people drove illegally down the yellow solid line on the side of the road past him. Lawlessness was the new norm in South Africa.
It was like the blacks were saying to the whites ‘oh, get used to it’.
Pieter noticed two black men seated in a parked in a BMW vehicle near the square. He knew that from the abandoned flat, he would be able to pick them off with effortless ease.
Of course, he had not thought about the fact that some of the people at the squad may be armed and could potentially be just as quality with a pistol or shot gun as he was.
Pieter Erasmus felt like a world heavyweight boxing champion. He believed, that in boxing terms, that nobody could knock him out as he had the skill to outclass everyone.
Even the greatest world class boxers went down to the canvas sometime in their respective careers, whether it was from a skilled blow or a lucky punch from their opponent.
With the Apartheid government’s national conscription called off in 1993, Pieter had not had the opportunity of spending time on the border defending his country against the so-called Communist onslaught of the ANC and its affiliates.
Up until end-1993, upon their competition of schooling or tertiary studies, white South African men received a governmental letter in the post to inform them of where they would spend two years of their life. High ranking officials would decide if the white male would be going to the army, navy, air force or medics as a part of their training to potentially defend their country.
With the National Party government and the ANC having started talks in the early 1990s, the national service period was changed to one year until it was eventually done away with.
Many of the young white men assigned to the army, ended up gong face to face with the Liberation Struggle opposition on the border between South West Africa and Angola. Many came back alive while some were not as lucky.
Pieter felt that he would have been wiser from a military point of view if he had done his stint for his country on the border.
Pieter parked his Toyota Corolla about one hundred metres from the apartment block where he would shoot from and marched boldly towards the building with two duffle bags filled with ammunition and his shot gun, over his shoulders.
This time he was convinced that there would be no turning back.
The square was still quiet as one would expect it to be at 5am. Soon, that would all change as people rushed across the area to get to work or to catch their daily public transport to their place of employment.
Soon South Africa would be changed forever just like those Apartheid era spies, and hitmen did before him. Some families would go to sleep tonight without loved ones, thought Pieter.
What the hell, it was now going to be a case of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
“I owe it to my family,” muttered the Lieutenant.
To the cop, two wrongs now made a right. He was far from thinking straight in a political sense. His mind was focused on a military sense.
Shoot to kill and run like hell, Erasmus.
Pieter Erasmus was streetwise. Tonight’s television headline news would be about the shooting spree at the square in Pretoria. However, if the Lieutenant played his cards, right, nobody would know who pulled the trigger.