In a month when South Africa commemorates the influence and sacrifices that women make, pain and heartbreak are the biggest presents that the country is giving them. In a space of less than a month, no less than four young children have died in the most unfortunate ways.
In mid July, four year old Taegrin Morris was dragged outside his parents’ car for more than eight kilometres when the VW Golf was hijacked. The family were in their car when they were approached by three men who told them to hand over the keys to the car. Everybody got out in time except for Taegrin who somehow got stuck in his seat belt. However, he was dragged outside of the car as the criminals drove off. When the criminals had driven the car for all of eight kilometres and discovered that the boy had been dragged along and died, they abandoned the car and disappeared. On the same day, in another hijacking, Mongezi Phike and his father were driving together when their car was hijacked in Bronkhorspruit. The hijackers tied up Mongezi’s father and drove away with the toddler. He was found at a Johannesburg shelter and was united with his mother. His father is in hospital recovering from wounds he sustained when the hijackers trussed him up when they took his car and drove away with his son.
As if that is not enough, a three year old boy was shot while sitting in his mother’s lap as they drove along in their family car. Apparently, the man accused of doing the shooting the gun had had an altercation with the boy’s father. Luke Tibbets who finally died on Friday had been brain dead for a number of days because the bullet was lodged in his brain. He was being kept alive by machines. In another incident, a five year old was killed when he was run owner by a minibus taxi in Khayelitsha township in Cape Town. According to police, they are still investigating the incident as a number of details about it are still unclear. Another child was ostensibly shot by a stray bullet and sustained spinal injuries on Friday when members of his community were involved in a gun battle.
While the incidents were almost all not directed at the children involved, the end result is that the children got the wrong end of the stick in all cases. It means that as a society, South Africa is not taking good care of its children. To their credit, the communities in which these children resided, did attempt to take to the streets in protest against the actions of the accused. The question that begs an answer is ‘Is that not a case of too little too late?’ And all this coming on the heels of the birthday of world Ivon, Nelson Mandela whose love for children knew no bounds. He once said ‘ Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.’