Jochen Put, 20, Scherpenheuvel, Belgium, stabbed, Bloemfontein:

Jochen Put, 20, Scherpenheuvel, Belgium, stabbed, Bloemfontein:

2011-02-08 Bloemfontein Volksblad. “Violent crimes which South Africans consider normal would send shockwaves through Europe,’ said Jochen Put, 20, a Flemish tourist after he was attacked on Sturday-night in downtown Bloemfontein.

Jana van der Merwe of Volksblad interviewed him. Mr Put also was shocked by the trauma-unit refusing to treat him for the knife-wounds in his back until he’d filled in his insurance-documents. Mr Put, a tourist from Scherpenheuvel, in Belgium, was taking a two-minute walk from the Loch Logan waterfront tourist-spot to a bar on Second Avenue in Bloemfontein with two other foreign friends when they were were accosted by three black knifemen, described as ‘youths’ by the three crime victims.  He’d saved for a long time to accompany his girl friend charity worker Shari VanHeukekelom, 22, to their dream-trip to South Africa, he said. She was doing a three-month marketing job for the charity Child Care which helps young crime-victims. VanHeukelom:  “we were warned in advance to be careful but we couldn’t dream that we’d fall victim to crime while merely talking a short walk’, she said. They’d visited the Waterfront venue with other foreign friends from Belgium and Germany – and were told that ‘it would be safe to walk those two minutes to the nearest bar at Tweede Laan.’ Three youths immediately attacked them, trying to grab Vanheukelom’s handbag. Put then was stabbed in the back with a knife. Ms VanHeukelom’s parents back home were terribly upset when she told them of the Saturday-night attack. “They are now very worried about our safety but still calm. I think they will be more sceptical if we’d ever want to come back here though. Where we are from it’s rare for such crime to happen. It’s frontpage news everytime it does.’ Put says they are determined to make the best of the rest of their trip. “We will have to be more careful and enjoy the rest of our time together here.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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