ELEGY

Camron Britz

St Johannes Church (Spielart Festival), Munich, 2017

Tribute by Mrs Britz

 

Camron was a unique person. She had many friends. She had lovely friends; old and young. She lived for her fellow man. She never said no when someone sent her to the shop, because in her soul she knew that she had to do it for her mother’s sake. We struggled. I do not work, because I am diabetic and cannot stand for long, but I am willing to work. Yes, she was the breadwinner in the home. Everybody relied on her, because she was this lovely person. Everybody around her loved her. You have to know that she knew if her mother sat at the bend of the river, there was again nothing at the house. Then she would say: “Don’t worry, Mommy. Why am I here?” She had an aunt named Faidah. This was a very large woman. From the age of 5, she used to visit Auntie Faidah. I have to say that that auntie loved Camron dearly. She did everything for Auntie Faidah. She would come to me with her reward and say: “Mommy this is for us, we have to eat and care for her[sic] two brothers. You can just give me R20 because I want to be with my friends so that I can also show them that I am a true daughter.” When she had a fight with her friends, she would come back home and turn to her books as usual. Then she would write about what happened out there. She loved writing poems. She started telling me that she wanted to live in her own white house one day, and that Mommy and the others couldn’t get there. Little did [we] know that she was beginning to speak of her death. She was a lovely person, inside and out. 

She had finished her confirmation. But that Saturday I took her from the house to sleep over at her eldest sister, because it was easier for me since she was close to the church. The Sunday of her confirmation, she was very restless. Our Bishop sat her down and explained to us that he had already seen the angel in Camron. But God spared her for another two months on earth. Now, on 2 July I told her: “Cammy, finish up because we are going to Long Beach Mall.” She didn’t want to get dressed and was wearing her black jeans and pink top and she put on her brother’s grey cap without brushing her hair. She was very quiet and said nothing. We went to Pick n Pay to get her toiletries, where she only took hair oil and told me: “Mommy, the toiletries are expensive, let’s go to Pep Stores.” She had a look at the prices of the toiletries and came back. I gave her the money, but she said: “Mommy, it is okay.” She became so quiet that I didn’t notice anything. When we got home, she said: “Mom, I am quickly going to Faidah.” As usual, she had breakfast with her Aunty on Saturdays. She wanted to tell the Aunty something, but couldn’t get anything out. Her Aunty knew something was bothering her and she was concerned. Then the Aunty asked: “Baby, what is wrong?”, but she only laughed. She and her friend, Kelly, who is also her cousin, were very close. They did everything together. The evening of July the 2nd, around 9 o’clock, Kelly and Cammy came in and I told her: “Cammy, not late, because tomorrow is church; we have to 

go and pray for the departed souls.” She said: “Yes, Mom, Kelly and I and the others are going to sit by the fire.” I then said it was okay. That evening, I suddenly felt sleepy and went to bed. Her father was watching television, but at about 3 o’clock in the early hours of the morning I woke up and asked her father: “Where did Cammy say she was going to sleep?” He then said either at Kelly or across the road at her other friend. I was worried, because she didn’t say that she was going to sleep over. I then started preparing food, because it was nagging at me. My brother came in and I told him I was worried about Cammy, because something didn’t feel right; my tummy was jittery and I couldn’t think. But at around 8 o’clock, Kelly called out: “Aunty Fonny, is Cammy ready for church?” Then I asked her: “Kelly, didn’t she sleep over at your place?” She then said “No”. Then my legs started shaking. I told Kelly to go look at her friend across the road if she didn’t sleep there. Kelly then said, from across the road, that she didn’t sleep over there. I started walking around, lamely. I started asking around all over. I sent my son, Melvino, to his sister to see if she didn’t perhaps sleep over at her place. She then came down without Cammy. I had Camron’s photo in my hand, because I was going to report her as missing. My daughter and I then went to the police station to report it, but they then said that they were going to search with us, but were unable to find her anywhere. I went to check with her other friend in the Ghoststown. She wasn’t there. I then walked to my sister, Shumaya. I told her: “Come, I have to search in the mountain”, because my heart told me that she was somewhere in the mountain. 

We then started searching in the mountain. But when the police came to get a photo of Camron from me, I came from the mountain and went with them to the police station, to make a report, because we had been searching for her all of half a day. When we got to the police station to open a missing [person’s] report (papers), my son, Melvino, came to drag me out of the police station, “Mommy, we have found Cammy, she is just across from the house, in the bushes.” I felt lame, I just couldn’t get out. When I eventually got to where the person stood, I knew that my child was dead and I just collapsed there. To think, it was just about 60 m from home. It broke my heart; my darling daughter was torn away from me. She was murdered and raped and her body was broken. I miss her, but I know that she is in her Father’s heavenly abode. I have made my peace and have forgiven the person. God has saved me from my suffering and removed my sorrow and made me His daughter, which is the reason why I can write these things about her today, because had it not been for God, would’ve been in the stillness of the grave. I praise God for His love for me and His love is never-ending. This poem, she wrote to God:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the [things] that I earn [sic]

and wisdom to know the difference. 

Words and ideas to change the world.

Those we love we love don’t go away.

They walk beside us every day unseen, unheard and always near, 

still loved, still missed and very dear.

Death is a heartache no-one can heal and love is a memory no-one can steal.

… Mommy, I’m sorry for this, but find my body tomorrow in my coffin.

I am tired and weak for this life; the Lord should please forgive me.

Tomorrow you’ll stand before my cross with a lot of nice things on a list.

You will be sorry for what had happened, but miss me just for tomorrow,

knowing that I am [?] crazy and out of mind as day by day I lose my strength.

Mom and Dad should understand, it is life that is catching up with me.

I stand before the church, but I am there in God’s work.

My body and blood were given, but here I again will hear.

I’ll be around by Monday, get this on Sunday,

be my Mom and Dad and I promise I won’t be bad. 

 In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:

It goes Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

Life is the one gift

Love is the second and understanding 

the third. He who is not every day conquering 

some fear has not learned the secret of life.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others,

and if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;

an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.

(You’ve got three) You’ve only got three choices in life:

give up, give in or give it all you’ve got.”

 

Mrs Britz, September 2017