Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

An H&M mannequin speaks

THE FIFTH COLUMN

It was horrendous, as you can imagine. A wave of red overalls — a veritable sea — came rushing down the aisles frothing, fuming, pushing every-thing out of their way. And I mean everything: perfume stations, men’s and women’s underwear stands, sunglasses displays.

The children’s section got the brunt of it. And it didn’t take much — they simply pushed the tiny mannequins over two at a time, brushing past with their arms stretched out. It was carnage.

Standing on stilettos, I could see their heads bobbing towards me. Towards us, my colleagues and I.
I feared for our demise. As they came closer, I could tell by the expression on their faces they meant business. They were furious.

Scrambling on to our platform, a big-bosomed woman grabbed my colleague by the shoulders and pushed her to the ground. She didn’t put up much of a fight, the frail creature. I suspect she dropped to the floor of her own volition.

The male mannequin to my left tried his utmost to ward off his attackers. I haven’t seen him exert himself like that in quite some time, but to no avail. A hip-high toddler — there were so many of them — seized him by the waist and wrestled him to the floor, where the toddler stepped on his head (yes, stepped right on his head) before gunning for the next victim. It was a total onslaught. All of us were white, no one was spared.

I kept my composure, looking straight ahead. Storefront training kicked in. I didn’t move a muscle. Then I grew hopeful as the mob marauded on, appearing to have mistaken me for a real person just minding my own business. But then a fighter stopped and looked me right in the eyes. My heart stopped. He approached me, tilted his head and waved his hand in front of my face. What was I to do?

My life flashed before my eyes, interspersed with my attacker’s face as it appeared momentarily between his palm moving from side to side. The factory, a mould, a truck; London, Paris, Milan and then, Africa. “You’ll enjoy it,” they said. “The pace is much slower,” they said.

The assailant stopped waving his hand and seemed to have come to the conclusion that I was inanimate.

His face hardened and he gripped me by the shoulders — clearly the preferred method of the day — and for a moment I thought for all money he was going to crash his forehead into my nose. Have mercy, I wanted to plead but, of course, couldn’t. Have mercy on a wretched soul. I did you no harm.

But he just stood there for quite some time seemingly weighing his options. Then he looked to his left and to his right, after which I felt him applying pressure to my left shoulder and watched as he stepped his right foot to the side and bent his knee. The pressure on my left shoulder increased and I started to tip sideways ever so slowly.

Halfway down, my attacker cradled the right side of my head, gently lowered my body to the floor, stepped over me and walked away.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

Rivals agree on new measures to end Cape Town taxi...

But key route remains closed and affected areas halt issuing of operating licences

Magashule claims his suspension of Ramaphosa was lawful

In his application for leave to appeal the high court judgment, Magashule argues that the court erred in holding that Ramaphosa’s suspension was not lawful without giving any explanation for that conclusion

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

Wayde van Niekerk misses 400m final to compound SA pain

The world record holder was a medal hope but has ultimately been outrun by injury
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×