A Valentine’s Day outing to the Maynardville open air theatre turned into a nightmare for Wynberg couple Peter Hadley Smith and Afsana Khan.
The couple, who live in Langley Road, left the theatre at about 11.20pm and halfway home they were approached by two men in Waterloo Road.
Mr Hedley Smith says he has no problem walking around Wynberg, however, sensing danger he was prepared when one of them asked for a cigarette.
The next moment the couple had a man on top of them.
Ms Khan screamed so loud that they later heard from residents that she could be heard over two blocks away. “It all happened so quickly. One of the men ran away while the other pointed a knife at us as we backed away.
“A mugging is very rare and we got away with cuts, bruises, torn clothing, a damaged cellphone and missing necklace,” Mr Hedley Smith told the Bulletin from his Wynberg garden.
This was the second mugging for Ms Khan, the first was in Namibia, about eight years ago. “Two guys were dropped off by a taxi and started following me. They boxed me in. They tried to get my backpack off me. I did judo when I was in primary school and remembered that the core principle is using your opponent’s weight against them. I stepped towards the guy in front of me and sunk my weight down. I was completely useless to them.
“They moved away – that’s when I saw the guy in front had a knife. I made a run for it to the city. I owe every instinct that day to self-defence through martial arts,” says Ms Khan.
After reporting the mugging to Wynberg police and the neighbourhood watch group, of which Mr Hedley Smith is an active member, he decided to do something positive. On Monday February 19 he mobilised a residents’ meeting and also contacted Andre van Schalkwyk of Table Mountain Watch and Tony Schreiber, co-founder of Bergvliet Kreupelbosch Meadowridge (BKM) Watch, asking for a recommendation of a personal safety training facilitator.
Both came up with the same name:KeleeArrowsmithof Advanced Combat Training.
The result is that Wynberg Sector 1 Neighbourhood Watch is hosting a #Winning Wynberg essential personal safety training event on Wednesday March 14, from 7pm to 9.30pm, at Church on Main. The cost is R100. Booking before 5pm on Monday March 12.
Mr Hedley Smith says a second mugging took place in Silverlea Road on Friday February 19, at 6am, when a woman was looking for her lost cat. A guy with a knife attacked her and took her cellphone.
Chairman of Wynberg Sector 1 Neighbourhood Watch, Eugene Dreyer, says the area covers the portion of Wynberg roughly from Riverstone Road to Constantia Main Road between the railway line and Waterloo Road.
“Safety and security is an issue which affects the whole community and one which everyone can work together alongside SAPS, City of Cape Town and neighbouring communities towards improving,” says Mr Dreyer.
He adds that there are a number of community WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages that they can direct residents towards and they communicate directly with members regarding safety and security concerns.
Dressed in his neighbourhood watch bib, the Bulletin bumped into Mr Hedley Smith at Wynberg police station on Tuesday February 27. He had been called to check identikits by the detective on the case.
Brian Heydenryck, director of the Shakespeare Festival at Maynardville, spoke to Colonel Johannes Nel of Wynberg police about having more presence on the streets when theatre-goers arrive and leave the area..
Colonel Nel confirmed that they have increased patrols in the vicinity of Maynardville Park.
He says no arrests have been made.
Contact www.wynbergwatch.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the neighbourhood watch.