I have an inflated sense of paranoia. I need to be told constantly that everything is, in deed, ok. It’s something that I’ve developed over time.
I placate myself by having regular check-ins with one of our loveliest neighbours who plays an integral roll in Bo Kaap’s Neighbourhood Watch. They patrol the streets for drastic displays of antisocial behavior and violent villainous disregard for the law, although they are few and far between (she says touching the large wooden dining room tabletop with one hand and her head with the other).
Nonetheless, he gives me an outline of what went down on the latest ‘crime-watch’ walks. Usually it’s nothing too hectic. They caught a guy trying to break into a car. A drunk girl got mugged walking home ALONE from town (seriously, who does that?) They found a knife on a junkie. And so it goes. And in the end I go home feeling safe and secure and reassured.
But the last update was a little bit different…
It was a dark and stormy night. Jokes, it wasn’t. It was pretty ordinary actually. The men set out at their normal patrol time and their night began much like most. They encountered the usual suspects, drunken-disorderly students making their way back to their digs, a few scabengas hanging around on street corners, a couple of opportunistic so-and-sos biding their time and so on. As the night drew on the streets emptied and all seemed safe and sound in the darkness. Until they heard a loud, guttural grunt…
The group stopped in unison and the street fell silent. They looked at each other, eyes confirming whether they had all heard the same thing, and where it had come from without the hush of a sound. Standing there together, like statues of war heroes never to be forgotten, they waited, until it came again. And again. And again.
The leader signaled for the men to ready themselves, and slowly the unit moved forward, edging towards the alley to confront what could only have been a maniacal ‘animal’ on the prowl for human flesh. As they got closer, it became apparent that ‘it’ wasn’t alone. There were two of them. And they didn’t sound like they wanted company.
The men rounded the corner. Prepared themselves for the worst. Illuminated their torches in 3, 2, 1… And there they were. Chalk white arms. Pale, plump legs. Pasty stark freaking butt naked bodies, going at it full throttle in the alleyway (no, I wasn’t meaning that alleyway, you’re just wrong). And there stood our lovely bunch of Muslim granddads, dads, uncles and sons. Upstanding citizens and respected members of the Bo Kaap community, with their mouths glued firmly to the ground, and their eyes darting every which way but THERE.
When the two finally realised that they had an unexpected audience, they managed to untangle themselves for a moment to retrieve their passports, naked, walk towards our shocked Neighbourhood Watch-men, naked, and attempt to explain, naked, that they were indeed visiting our lovely country, naked, which they loved. Naked.
“Apparently” severe public displays of affection and seriously indecent exposure is not a crime in the UK or Germany, which, so the passports revealed, is where these lax lovers were from.
*Disclaimer: Ok, I have to be a little honest about something, my neighbour told the story somewhat differently to the version I’ve just recounted. Being a middle-aged man of Muslim faith talking to a young(ish) blonde woman, well, lets just say he’s too much of a gentleman to have gone into that much detail. So forgive me for embellishing the story somewhat. It was, merely, for your entertainment value.
The thing is, the cold, hard facts remain the same. Grunting or no grunting, our Neighbourhood Watch guys bust two foreigners having sex stark-naked down a dirty ally. Call me a prude, but that’s just downright disgusting.
I’m not entirely sure what happened to the two of them. I was too taken aback by the whole thing to ask. I wish I had now, because I’m a little intrigued to say the least.
Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll be walking down the street when I come across a little GerBrit eyeing his place of conception in an attempt to gather clues about who is father ‘really’ is. Because let’s be honest, anyone who can shamelessly have sex butt naked down a dark dirty alley in a foreign country with someone they’ve clearly just met, surely doesn’t care much for details.
These men who take to our streets in the dead of night aren’t superheroes in possession of crazy cool powers. They don’t have an arsenal of high-tech gadgetry to aid them in their continuous fight against crime. In fact, they’re not even real-life crime-fighters. They’re regular dads and husbands and uncles and brothers, just like you, or the ones that belong to your family. And they make up our Neighbourhood Watch.
They don’t get paid for it. In fact they hardly get recognized for it. But they do it anyway, because they want their wives and mothers and sons and daughters and strangers like me to be safe. To feel safe. To live in a neighbourhood free of the worldly horrors that unfortunately affect so many.
All their equipment from torches to safety gear is sponsored, or they fundraise to be able to afford it. If anyone reading this would like to donate to the cause or sponsor any equipment or safety gear, from rain jackets to reflective gear, please let me know.