IN-DEPTH: Day 19 – Not just eyeballed, but earlobed, nostrilled and even navelled

Behold! A book!

Behold! A book! The bookiest book in the whole of Bookdom!

The title for this blog post is taken from The Fifth Elephant, one of the Discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett. It comes up from the conversation between Ankh-Morpork’s despot-in-residence Lord Vetinari and the-recently-and-inadvisably-promoted-to-Captain Fred Colon:


‘I see. The number of internal disciplinary charges you have laid against your men—’ and here the Patrician picked up a much thicker document— ‘seems somewhat excessive. I see no fewer than one hundred and seventy-three offences of eyeballing, earlobing and nostrilling, for example.’


‘Nostrilling, acting captain?’


‘Oh. And I see, ah yes, one charge of “making his arm fall off in an insubordinate way” laid against Constable Shoe [a zombie]. Commander Vimes has always given me glowing reports about this officer.’

”e’s a nasty piece of work, sah! You can’t trust the dead ones!’

‘Nor, it would seem, most of the live ones.’


While in much-better-as-Sergeant Colon’s case it was indeed somewhat an excessive description, I believe for me recounting how I felt today in Yeoville it is completely apt. Today Tendai and I went in early, because I needed footage of the woman I filmed cutting a tomato, to actually buy the tomato from Noli and his wife (the magic of video – nothing actually has to be filmed in order for the end product to be in order!).

She ran a little late, so while we waited I got my camera out and tried to take a couple of stills that TJ and I discussed yesterday. The whole time I stood on that pavement, both when taking photos and later filming, I could sense what felt like 100 eyes (and nostrils and earlobes and even navels) on me. And it wasn’t even just that they were looking at me – it filled me with fear because I felt like they were casing me out to see how worth it it would be to try to mug me. We’ve been warned numerous times by a few people that the street on which Noli sells is notorious for muggings and pick-pocketing, and honestly there were a number of dodgy-looking characters around.

After my stuff was done, we then went to Rockey Street because Tendai wanted to take some stills of a street scene. There, too, we felt ill at ease and constantly on alert… If I survive the next two weeks (and believe me, that is a big IF) I’d love to do a blog about how this experience of working in Yeoville has forced me to think even more about white privilege and how we’ve responded to a mostly black area, how we think and feel when exposed to that. Meh, totally writing it on my ‘to do’ list – the one I’ve had since I was about four.

My main concerns now are 1) finishing up my feature. And by that I mean actually doing my feature, which is pretty well-written in my head, but I’m not sure that the lecturers will be okay with me handing in a decapitated crown on Friday. And 2) doing the last bit of filming that needs to be done in Joburg Market – once again the guy I need to talk to was not in the office when I called today, and I’m feeling a tad flustered about getting permission as soon as possible so that I can do that shooting on Thursday – the last day we can actually use the equipment.

And in other news…

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last couple of years – I can’t believe the first thing you’re doing on the outside is reading my blog! Seriously, what’s wrong with you? – Oscar Pistorius was sentenced today for the Valentine’s Day 2013 death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. For the first conviction of culpable homicide, he received a prison sentence of five years, and on the second charge of reckless endangerment in the use of a firearm, he received a suspended sentence of three years.

I can’t help wondering what the heck journalists are going to do now that it’s probably all over (barring an appeal, which may or may not happen). No more channel dedicated solely to the trial, no more waiting outside a Pretoria courtroom with cameras locked and loaded, no more desperately trying to spell the name ‘Thokozile Matilda Masipa’… and for the rest of us no more sitting in front of the TV during working hours, justifying ourselves by saying we’re staying abreast on current events. ‘Tis an end of an era!


About robykirk

Robyn was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, still isn't dead and despises writing in the third person. She received her undergraduate degree at Rhodes University, having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, History and Journalism at the end of 2013 and completed her Honours in Journalism (career entry) at Wits University in Johannesburg during 2014. From April 2015 until March 2016 she worked as the Communications Intern for the MRC/Wits Agincourt Research unit in rural Mpumalanga. This blog is a collection of the work produced: - for the Wits University student newspaper and website Wits Vuvuzela during 2014 - during her internship at MRC/WIts Agincourt Research Unit (2015/2016) and independent blogging (2014-present). Robyn is interested in everything besides sports and mean people. In the past she has specialised in photojournalism and television journalism, and considers visual media to be one of her strongest skills. She decided to become a journalist because learning about other people’s lives was more fun than putting on pants and having her own. Follow her on Twitter: @RobyKirk

Posted on October 21, 2014, in In-depth blog, Wits Vuvuzela and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: