One Wedding, One Funeral.

The mother was concerned when her son got a job in the big bad city far away. Johannesburg. All their lives they have been living in a small town in the Western Cape. It is a safe place. Low crime rate, violence hardly ever heard of. People are free to go for a walk early in the morning without much risk of getting mugged.

In the big city, on the contrary there is constant crime, constant violence, muggings, robbery, it is part of daily life. And that is the place where the son got a job and started a new life for himself and his future bride in spite of his mother’s concerns. She did not plead with him not to go. She just pointed out the facts. He is an inexperienced young man, having lived in the protection of family and close friends all his life. How was he to go out into the world and know how to take care of himself? But the young man packed his stuff and left.

In the big bad city you have to learn quickly how to keep yourself safe from all the bad goings on, or pay the consequences. You learn to trust no one. You learn to walk fast, looking around as you go, make no eye contact, and never flash a wallet, cell phone or any valuables in any public place. Be alert, be watchful and be ready for anything all the time. So the young man learned fast. He got a nice place to live, went to work, made friends and was contented for the most part. If only the wedding day could dawn so that he can bring his darling to live with him and complete his life.

The wedding was scheduled for Saturday, 6th February 2016. With two of his best new friends the groom-to-be arrived on Saturday, two weeks before the great and joyful day. Everyone was in good spirits. It is time to celebrate the unification of two souls. They would become one and live happily ever after in the big city far away from their people and their home. They would create a new home for themselves and the family they planned to have.

The bride was excited. A new life awaits with her beloved. Her dress was beautiful, her bridesmaids were going to look like ladies in a picture, all the guests would be dressed in their best. The mood was festive. The kitchen tea for the bride was a great success. The only thing left before the wedding, was the bachelor party for the groom.

It was a party like any other. The young man had a good time with his friends. no excessive drinking, no half naked women jumping from a cake, just a number of young guys having fun with beer and braai. It was still early when they had finished eating and clearing up. So, they decided to go to the club in one of the main streets of the town, a place they had often visited and had some fun.

And that was where it happened. as the groom and his friends left the club in the early hours, they happened to walk into the midst of a dispute between two rivaling parties. some guys on the sidewalk were having a dispute about something. shouting, threatening and even physical contact occurred, but it did not seem to be too serious. Until one guy of one of the groups pulled out a gun and started shooting. Several shots were fired. One of the groom’s friends were hit in the arm. And then the groom went down, a bullet in his head. He passed away five days later.

Saturday 6th February 2016 the groom was laid to rest on the day he was supposed to be receiving his bride when she came walking down the isle.

It did not happen in the big bad city. It happened in the peaceful town in the Western Cape where people believed that they were safe and life was unaffected by the crime and violence of the city. The irony of it all screams to high heaven. We learn to protect ourselves where we expect violence. Then it hits us unexpectedly in a place where we should have been safe. A place where we believed we were safe.

Magdel Roets,


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