April 19 2010 at 07:16AM
By Yusuf Moolla
Despite being hijacked, held captive in her own car for several hours and subjected to continuous verbal abuse and intimidation, a Durban woman says she is not angry at her attackers and remains hopeful that peace will prevail in the country.
Bobby Hackland survived a traumatic ordeal last Wednesday, when she was hijacked in Che Guevara (Moore) Road and forced into the passenger seat.
"After forcing me into the passenger seat, the hijacker drove me to KwaNdengezi township (west of Durban) where I was continually harassed, intimidated and verbally abused."
She said the man drove her from place to place, sometimes locking her in the "hot" car, while he spent time with other people. "He occasionally brought his friends with him into the car and they drove at horrendous speeds through the rough township roads."
Hackland spent the arduous trip partially intoxicated after she was forced to drink a substance. "The man forced me to drink a very strong alcoholic beverage that I am not used to.
"I screamed through sheer fright at the speeds he was travelling. He also forced down the passenger seat so I could not identify the areas I was going through."
Hackland, who prayed throughout the ordeal, was saved when a resident of the township alerted the police after witnessing Hackland's torment.
She said police tracked the car, there was a short exchange of gunfire and her attacker was wounded in the ankle.
"He was arrested, while his friends fled the scene during the shootout."
She commended the police for their swift action, which saved her life.
Police said they were investigating the incident.
Hackland, founder of the Ubuntu Peace Project, which aims to end violent crime, poverty and corruption, said she was not angry.
"I believe that with proper rehabilitation, the very person that attacked me could contribute to his community and society."
She said people should not act out of revenge, but should rather aim for peace.
"Let's strive towards peace and kindness instead of focusing on the crime and violence. We need to reinstate the culture and spirit of ubuntu, which starts with everyone of us."
She said if the message of peace and unity was spread more actively, it would reduce the level of crime in the country.
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on April 19, 2010