In an internet article “Gun Violence Prevention In South Africa” it states that the 2015/16 National Murder Study released at the time of the annual crime statistics shows that 16 people were shot and killed every day, just under 6000 people a year. This is a significant reduction in gun deaths, from 1998, when 12,298 people were shot and killed, averaging 34 people a day.
Out of the 18,615 murders during this period, guns accounted for 32.1%. This is below the global average – according to the United Nations, 41% of murders globally are committed with a firearm. However, this wasn’t always the case; 41.5% of all reported murders in South Africa in 1994 were committed with a firearm, increasing to 49.4% in 1998.
The reason for the decline in gun deaths is SA’s Firearms Control Act (2000). Research published in the American Journal of Public Health (2014) shows that over 4,500 lives were saved in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria from 2001 to 2005 because of the Firearms Control Act
In another online post “Gun-Free SA: South Africa Is Battling A Surge In Firearm-Related Deaths” it mentions that there were 7,351 murders committed with firearms – which include pistols, revolvers, high-caliber and homemade guns – between April 2019 and March this year
On 02 December 2018, as I (Bridgette) switched off the light and laid my head on the pillow there was a loud bang after which another two followed. I got up in shock as I dashed to turn the light on and open the door.
On exiting my abode, I saw the assailant flee, and then suddenly heard my oldest daughter, Shandre’s terrifying scream. I darted back inside towards the bunk which she shared with her 10-year-old baby sister (Charlize). Charlize had her head buried in between Shandre’s thighs and Shandre’ said, “Mommy, he stabbed me through the window”. When I looked at the window and noticed a hole in the curtain, my eyes immediately fell on my 23-year-old daughter’s chest which was covered in blood. I will never forget that fatal morning that turned the fate of my beautiful 23-year-old daughter who was six weeks pregnant. She was shot three times through the window.
Gun residue had to be removed from her stomach but she was determined to keep the baby although doctors were skeptical, Doctors discontinued giving her morphine shortly after the operation in order to prevent harm to the unborn baby while she endured excruciating pain. I could not help but cry secretly when I saw my daughter in such agonizing pain. As her mom, I would have considered trading places with her if I could. Shandre’ recovered by beating all odds and miraculously the baby and her survived. She was discharged from the hospital two months later, with one bullet still lodged in her arm, because doctors believed that removing the bullet could put the baby at further risk.
The following months revolved around me sponge bathing her, dressing her wounds, and helping her to the toilet. She recovered remarkably well. The bullet in her arm was removed when her baby was six months old. She could only breastfeed with one of her breasts because the other breast was damaged due to the exit wound of a bullet. She, however, had psychological issues due to the shooting such as nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance, and thoughts of the incident. When she complained of insomnia, I advised her to make an appointment for a consultation with an old family doctor and psychiatrist, who referred her to the psychiatrist at the clinic. Adding to her stress-related issues was the sad fact of the court trial being continuously postponed. Sorrowfully, on the 2nd of August, my daughter committed suicide leaving her 1-year-old baby motherless.
The pain that I feel is unbearable. She has left a void within me because a part of me has gone with her. Her absence and departure leave me lonely at a time when I need her most during the court trial and the raising of her daughter. The case is still pending and I pray that justice is served accordingly and soon.
To be continued…