August 22, 2012.
A group of robbers who held up a couple, their children and a farm worker near Kimberley thanked the family for their co-operation before fleeing.
They told the family they should understand the robbery was their way of earning money, the same way the couple earned money from farming Die Volksblad newspaper reported.
Gerhard Karsten, 38, his wife, three children, aged between 11 and one, and a farm worker, were locked up in one of the rooms in the farmhouse.
Everybody was tied except the two toddlers, aged one and two.
The newspaper reported that one of the robbers carried the one-year-old baby on his hip when the girl started crying and calmed her.
The robbers confronted the Karstens with two hand guns outside the house at 8.30pm on Sunday.
They told the family it was a robbery and they would not hurt the family if they cooperated.
According to the report one of the robbers was aggressive and kicked Karsten, while another was friendly. His wife was nevertheless threatened while forced to hand over jewellery.
The robbers fled with the cash, jewellery, cellphones and one of the family's vehicles.
“My advice to people in such a situation is not to be difficult and not to play the hero,” Karsten was quoted as saying.
He said if the robbers felt alarmed, they would have shot them.
Comment: It is not often that my childhood hometown makes the news, not even in South Africa, but when it does it usually is quite significant in a numbing sort of way.
The headline to this article in the Times Live misspells Kimberley. They spell it Kimberly. This is not unusual in a world run by Microsoft Word and its spell check set to the American default. (I have corrected the spelling here just in case the good folk at Times Live read outside of their magnificent orifices.)
If you watch the weather forecasts on SABC or Etv in South Africa you will notice that Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape and the once famous home of De Beers and the hometown of ANC greats such as Sol Plaatje and ZK Mathews not to mention the final home of the PAC leader Robert Sobukwe, is too often not even listed among the cities and towns on the weather map.
Rarely will reference even be made to Kimberley when forecasting the weather. It may be that the weather is just either hot or cold with more than a sprinkle of dust throughout the day so it is not worth mentioning.
But if you live in Kimberley then you know we are the forgotten city (along with our beautiful province); and this is so despite the history of South Africa which in a capitalized way is centered on what happened on the diamond fields.
In a more cynical but hardly irrelevant sense, Kimberley is a metaphor for the rise and fall of South Africa and may just explain its marginal and almost invisible place in the post country.
That aside, this story tells of a kinder even gentler robber in Kimberley. Is that a good thing?
Robbers who apologize and even babysit while collecting the loot.
I think it is significant in an absolutely f*cking rude country. Robbers in Kimberley are turning the cards on their brethren elsewhere in the 'delusional rainbow'.
Joburg surely can't measure up to this standard, no?
I hope when I next get robbed it will be by someone from Kimberley. I may just be tempted to hand over some more loot if I knew it was representative of kind and gentle folk doing their level best to survive in the post Frankenstein.
My heart feels really warm right now. This is such a feel good story.
I can hardly wait to leave the US for Kimberley so that I can be robbed with kindness and consideration.
And we are not free.