Saturday started off on a high note for me. I was in a good mood because the sun was shining in Cape Town for a change and the Springboks were taking on New Zealand in a World Cup semifinal that was sure to be spectacular. I recently celebrated my birthday and three of my friends have their birthdays around the same time so we were looking forward to a day of rugby, a pool party and then a fun night out.
We ended up at Vice City (the name was probably a warning) just off of Long Street and what started out as a beautiful day ended up being one of the worst I have had. I was beaten by bouncers at the club and thrown out onto the street for wearing a cap! I was let into the club wearing the cap and many other people were wearing caps. I was approached by the bouncers and asked to remove the cap, which I did, albeit with some cheek. I pointed out that other people who were, I hate to say, white were wearing caps and they must be asked to remove them too. The bouncers disregarded this and threw me out anyway and when I struggled I was punched in the jaw and had my vest torn. My friends, who were all white, came out and suggested we go home. This obviously made me livid! Why must I go home after suffering an injustice like this? I paid to get into that club, I spent money there and I paid for the vest that was torn off me.
I met three other guys who offered to go with me and approach the bouncers to ask for an explanation and all four of us were assaulted. I scraped my knee when I was thrown down again. All I wanted to know from the bouncers (who were black) was how their policy on caps worked. Are only white people allowed to wear caps? Maybe I misread the situation and it’s only people of a certain height or body type who can wear caps at Vice City. All I know is that no one would explain to me why I alone was singled out for wearing a cap. We asked the Central City Improvement District public safety officers who were on hand for help and they just laughed at us. We approached the police who were on another case and asked them to hear us out and they also laughed at us.
As a young, black person I feel let down by the society I find myself in. The police were beating unarmed students in the streets just last week and now they are laughing at young people who have clearly been assaulted. I went to the doctor and the police station to open a case of assault and I was surprised by how many people thought I should just let it go. I started doubting myself and whether what happened to me is really important or not. Sure, many people are suffering far worse injustices but we cannot always let things slide. As a young South African my heart is broken and I am weeping softly into my pillow. DM
Charles Siboto is a junior editor at NB Publishers.