Sep 132015

Don’t Get Mugged For Nothing

Mugged in the Streets of South Africa


Mugged. Hide your Savings or Saving your Hide?

There’s a fine line when coming across a mugger in the dark, in an unknown terrain and then being mugged. Do you save your life and run, or empty your pockets. Well, when you empty your pockets you have in fact, lost your life as you know it. Not dead but non-existent. And that, in an unknown country and probably an unknown hemisphere, is not an experience you want to have.

The first outcome we all know, you’re dead but the second, most of us have never had to deal with being mugged. When you have to face the immediate future without a passport, credit card, bank account, travel documents and no identification, things change in ways you could never have invented. The facts are you can’t pay for your next meal, never mind your hotel. You can’t draw money and no one knows who you are – especially the bank.

At this point, the best option is your nearest embassy. The reason? So you can contact the world and sort out all the fires that have been started, since you are now a nobody with no way to prove who you are. If you rely on drugs or medication, you have a further problem. Life goes downhill from here very fast. My elaborations on being mugged are the reason for this article.


Mugged: Prevention is Better Than Cure

Don’t let it happen in the first place. Am I being funny or just amusing? Neither in fact. I remember a short story about a similar event of – “It can’t happen to me,” – “because I take special precautions” story. A diamond miner I knew in the 60’s, actually a very large, (not fat) very rough individual, told me a story about an incident that happened to him. Not mugged, but equal to. He was taking a small bag of diamonds from his mine in Kimberley to a buyer in Johannesburg.

Early in the morning, he left his hotel and took a bus to the buyer; a trip no more than twelve city blocks, so he stood all the way at the back of the bus, holding the rail. When he got to the buyers office, the buyer commented on a large hole in the front of his trousers, next to his fly. Looking down, he saw a neat hole, about the size of a man’s fist and his diamonds were missing, even though he had the diamond bag inside his underwear and tied to his belt from the inside. You might say they don’t make pick pockets like they used to. Well that may be, but the end result still remains the same. Mugged simply means, you may get hurt.

So what kind of prevention am I talking about here? My wife and I met a Dutch couple, at a river in the Kruger National Park, who had been mugged in Johannesburg very recently. And they were promising never to return to South Africa again… never. So I gave them our business card as contacts for South Africa and suggested a plan for them. The aim is, so that sort of thing does not happen to them again, in the event they may want to still take a chance on South African hospitality. They are not wealthy and also, not yet well traveled. It was quite clear from their story of being mugged, that they were making themselves obvious victims as tourists. South Africa, like many other countries around the world, have many foreigners in amongst its indigenous citizens.

A large portion of these foreigners are both poor and illegal. They also know if they are caught mugging, they are simply deported back to their own country without being jailed for the offense, because they are foreigners and therefore citizens of another African country. They maybe from another country, but they can see a tourist a mile away and getting closer, they can hear them speaking Dutch for example. It’s all about how you dress and act and the clothes you wear are your first line of defense. A demonstration is that of a tour group standing around a safari land cruiser. The ones wearing bush clothes are local and the rest are the tourists.

OK, if you reverse that by having all the tourists wearing bush clothes and the guides in tourist type clothing, you may think those were the tourists at a convention or lecture. Get the picture. So the right kind of clothes, – local like, – are the first line of defense in not getting mugged. The next is, don’t talk in a foreigner language (yours) in a place that looks suspect. The best defense here is speak English and act like you own the place. If you are English, I rest my case.


There’s a Better Way Than Getting Mugged

This better way is what we introduced to the Dutch couple, which made them feel immediately better about coming back to South Africa when they next were ready to travel. This better way, is in our next week’s article because this one has exceeded the vocabulary needed.

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Meet Our Authors: The Wildmoz team, Cari and Moz, have a lifelong passion for the Bushveld and share adventures and stories about Africa's good things. Wildmoz is Africa - the cradle of life! Travel writing about wildlife, African folklore, wildlife art, Kruger Park and wildlife safari info! Taste life as it is in Africa.
 Posted by on September 13, 2015