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Lauren Beukes shares her experiences of riding along with the Cape Town Metro Police

MaverickMoxylandZoo City (SA edition)The Shining GirlsBroken Monsters

 

Lauren Beukes has been spending time on the streets with the Cape Town Metro Police – learning along the way what a tough background her ridealong cop has come from‚ as well as the meaning of “Multichoice ears”.

Her companion today is Constable Caswell Julies‚ a social development officer for the Metro Police.

In his private time‚ he does charitable work with a youth group. Their motto is “Sleep with a dream‚ wake up with a purpose”.

He pays for the project out of his own pocket‚ which means his 11-year-old son didn’t get a bicycle for Christmas‚ “but he understands”.

Describing the day‚ Beukes livetweets about Julies, whose wide-ranging job spans everything from helping a drug addict mother get into rehab‚ to building self-esteem among children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

“I’m still a crime fighter‚ but in a different department. In the past I had to go and arrest guys‚ now I go and inform them‚” Constable Julies says.

Today‚ it’s the turn of kids at a primary school in Eerste Rivier.

Describing the encounter‚ Beukes tweets:

“He gets two volunteers to step forward – kids are eager. He sizes them up and then gets out a measuring tape and measures their height. 1.45 and 1.5.

“You know what I am measuring here? I’m measuring how beautiful they are.”

The kids are confused.

“Can you measure how beautiful someone is?” “No‚” the chorus comes back. “That’s what I’m here to tell you. Who here has been bullied?

“Maybe they tell you you’re ugly or fat‚ or your ears stick out like Multichoice [satellite dishes] and you take those words inside you …”

He tells them a bit of his own background‚ his alcoholic dad‚ his mom who died‚ having to sell newspapers barefoot at 11 in winter …

“If you come from what they call a broken home‚ that doesn’t mean you are broken. Other people cannot break you.

“Don’t let anyone else measure you. Say this with me now. I am beautiful. I am worthy. I am priceless.” They all chorus with him. “And whatever you say to me does not matter. Because I am beautiful. I am worthy. I am priceless.”

He’s got the charisma and cadence of a preacher‚ even over the tinny microphone.

“Your circumstances do not define you. Your neighbourhood does not define you. Your parents do not define you.”

Constable Julies started as a shoe salesman‚ then worked in security‚ then as a courier‚ before he joined the City Police in 2002.

“My little brother is the reason I pushed my life. Why I’m here today as a Metro police officer‚” he tells Beukes.

“I come from a background where myself as a youth‚ I was disadvantaged. I went through a lot. I don’t want young people to have to do the same.

“My mom passed when I was 11. The challenge we had was that my dad used alcohol‚ and because of his abuse‚ we had no structure in our home.

“Me and my brothers lived in different places with different people‚ so we could get something to eat. We had to knock on people’s doors.

“When I was 11‚ in Bloemfontein‚ I was selling newspapers on the corner‚ late at night‚ with bare feet‚ no shoes‚ in the middle of winter.

“When I was 13‚ I was a taxi guard. Because I had to work‚ I lost a lot of years at school.

“My little brother was the hope I had. I knew I would fight for him.

“People must look deep inside themselves‚” Constable Julies said‚ “Give yourself something you’re willing to fight for.”

Beukes adds this postscript:

Source: TMG Digital

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