Shopping Amid the Mayhem


Like so many people do, he decided to shop early to avoid the usual confusion going on from the end of November to the end of December. But that shopping trip turned into a nightmare when he, a South African police inspector, saw four men armed with riffles coming out from the front shop jewelers. He tried to apprehend the suspects but they fired at him. A furious exchange of gunfire took place right in the middle of one of the biggest and busiest Durban shopping centers.


He was shot and the four-armed men ran in different directions with R1.5 million of watches and cash, leaving a trail of blood behind. Around 30 shots were fired, 5 of them hitting the inspector’s chest. He only survived because an emergency surgery on his lungs was carried out on the spot, before rushing him to an helicopter.


Shop owners, in panic, lowered steel grills to protect their premises and staff, while police dogs searched the perimeter of the shopping complex and a police helicopter circled overhead.


All this happened a little after 9am on November 15, the same day we decided to shop – precisely a month ago. I was there, too close to feel like a lucky survivor, once again aware of how violence is such a terrible price to pay for living in the paradisiacal side of Africa.


We left the Pavillion before 11am to Musgrave, hopefully a quieter place for shopping and lunching. It was a wise move because the next day we read the follow up of the shooting drama we had witnessed…