... inner city houses were enveloped by layers of security: barbed wire fences, window bars, alarm systems and guard dogs. Many people carried firearms or other weapons. Carjackings, home break-ins, rape and other violence was commonplace.
This became all too real one morning when I arrived at my office to find someone I knew bloodied and bruised. She had been pack-raped in her home the night before, her boyfriend shot as he intervened.
Several friends were held up at knife point. I was chased more than once, but got away each time. There were attempts to break into my house most weeks and sometimes I would go to sleep with the sound of gunshots nearby. I lived, day to day, waiting for my number to come up.
I struggled with two overwhelming emotions: shame, for being better off than most, and fear, for my physical well-being.
The crunch point came five months after I arrived. Tiija, a fellow volunteer and friend, was thrown from the window of a moving train. She was close to death, but woke from a coma three months later ...
I returned home seven months early ... I was an altered person when I landed in Melbourne ...
South Africa is no happy blueprint for the future.