Abigail Kubeka (79) vividly remembers to the last second of the last minute, of the horror, that befell her, when she was attacked by a tax driver, after he had scratched her car.
Her window was open, sucking in some morning breeze one October, when the taxi screeched to a stop in front of her and the driver got out.
The Generations: The Legacy actress waited for the driver to come over and apologize.
“The taxi was driving on the pavement when it scratched my car. So, I know I wasn’t in the wrong,” she said.
She thought they would exchange contact details, and she would continue her way from Orlando West on to the M70, the Soweto Highway, to Auckland Park.
Then she realised the driver was rushing aggressively' towards her, swearing to deal with her and accusing her of damaging his vehicle.
“I said to him, ‘ Hey, but you’re the one who scratched my car,” she said.
However, without warning, the young man began punching the grandmother in the face.
“Can you imagine it? Me with my big sunglasses. It’s funny that my glasses didn’t break …” she said, her voice trailing off.
Within a flurry of blows and punches, Mam’ Abigail managed to move herself over to the passenger seat of her car, she recalled; “It was like he was fighting a man of his age. I hadn’t even been rude to him. I asked him: ‘Why are you beating me up?”
The brutal beating stopped after fellow motorists came to her rescue, pulled the
taxi driver from her car and restrained him.
Overwhelmed by what had transpired to her, the actress said she just sat there.
“I was all confused because I wasn’t expecting any violence at all. I was expecting he would come over and we would just exchange contact details,” she said.
In that confused state, an aching face from the beating, she managed to write down the registration number of the taxi her attacker had been driving. “Can you imagine getting a big fist to the face, at 20 to seven in the morning? You don’t know if you are dreaming or not.
“I don’t think that even Cassius Clay [Muhammad Ali] received a blow like that. It was so heavy,” she said.
Abigail’s swollen lips and black bloated eye are a reminder of the cruel attack, however, she is thankful that she survived, because it could have been even worse. “If he’d had a gun, he could have easily shot me the way he was behaving, he was so angry,” she told DRUM magazine during an interview.
She remained silent on the matter, kept it away from her Generations colleagues, because she didn’t want to distract their focus.
“I rushed to the kitchen [at the studio] to get some ice to put on my mouth to stop the swelling. Someone asked what had happened and I said I slipped when I got out of my car and hit my mouth and cheek,” she said.
When the veteran actress, later told her story, the news of her “accident” circulated, and the day continued as usual.
“I didn’t want to talk about it and upset the others. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. I just wanted to keep calm and think about my next step,” she said.
Due to the pain, she struggled to pay attention to her work, and could not stop thinking about the assault. “I was laughing with people, but I was hurting inside. I was still upset,” she said.
Mam’ Abigail was calm, not rude when the attacker approached her violently, and was left wondering what had triggered his behavior.
“I really feel sorry for the people he lives with. He’s an animal,” she said.
Anyway, the good part was that, the day was not a busy one, as she just had one scene to shoot.
“I just wanted to deal with the day. I said to myself, ‘I will tell them everything once all is done’. I didn’t want people to put pressure on me, telling me what to do or not do,” she added.
After shooting for her scene, she left for home, and stopped at the Orlando Police Station, where she reported the crash and opened a case of assault. She was convinced she had to act against the driver’s inhuman behaviour.
“I want him to be taught a lesson. I do not think it was the first time he did something like that, nor would it be the last,” she said.
Meanwhile, her family was furious when she told them, they wanted to take the law into their own hands, suggesting to go after the driver themselves.
“I disagreed. I told them we must let the law take its course,” she said.
The incident left Mam’ Abigail thinking about the daily incidents of road rage and bad driving. “People are killed every day in road-rage incidents. I thank the Lord for saving my life,” she added.
The actress understands everyone is rushing to get to work, “but we have to give each other a chance. Some people don’t want to give others a chance, especially the taxi drivers. They are very inconsiderate. They think they own the road, those ones,” she chided.
She added that, as for women drivers it’s often worse, because they’re more easily intimidated by bullying taxi drivers.
“Other women have been going through this but have kept quiet. We sit on these things and don’t talk about them.
“But now it’s getting out of control. The men who abuse women at home are now doing it out in public,” she went on.
She believes that the only way to end violence against women is through tolerance. “Our people are always angry because they don’t get paid enough. Some are living in poverty and they are frustrated,”
she added. She also pointed out that some people behave in a violent way because they were brought up that way.
“Let’s be patient with each other because you don’t know what other people are going through,” she said.
Meanwhile, the veteran actress is waiting for justice to take its course. The police have confirmed that the attack is being investigated, and that they have located the owner of the taxi, but the driver who assaulted Mam’ Abigail has disappeared.
“The Meadowlands Taxi Association brought me flowers and chocolates and they have apologised.
“I really feel sorry for this boy. He should just turn himself in,” she added.