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“How My Mother’s Phone Call Saved My Life During The Attacks in South Africa” – OBT

Few months ago, Stephen Adigun a.k.a OBT; a young Nigerian student studying in South Africa, spent a quiet night engaging in a long distance phone call with his mom who resides in Ibadan. As they laughed, conversed and played catch-up over the phone, it never occurred to him that that seemingly casual gist could very well mean the difference between life and death..

According to OBT, the conversation had begun like any other. “She wanted to know how I was faring personally and how things were going with my studies. She wanted to know if I was eating enough and reading enough. She even made a few jokes about how skinny I was looking in the last photo I sent her”

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Soon after the preambles they got talking about the security situation in South Africa (this happened in April) and the news circulating on the press about foreigners being hunted and killed liked animals.

 “I didn’t really want to talk about it. I knew she was worried about my safety and I didn’t want to say anything to make her lose sleep, so I played down the situation “No Mummy, it’s not that serious (it was), it’s just the media blowing things out of proportion”  Frankly there was a part of me that was yet to fully acknowledge the reality of the situation in South Africa. Also, as young people, there’s always that natural notion that parents over-exaggerate the significance of danger, so we’re always quick to put their worries to sleep.So I tried to switch the conversation but she wouldn’t let it go. As we spoke  I sensed something change in her voice and her next few words –  a prayer which in regular circumstance would have been another “spiritual” moment with my mum over the phone, felt like the voice of God urging me to seriously listen and comply. 

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The next day, I had made plans to head out to Jo’burg from Pretoria to see a friend,  I was dressed and ready to leave, but for some reason I kept thinking about that conversation with my mom. I wouldn’t describe myself as superstitious, but the feeling was strong and I didn’t want to tempt fate; so I decided to stay back at campus. Later that evening, news reached me of an attack in the very neighborhood I had planned to visit”

Like he usually does with most calls from home, OBT recorded the conversation with his mom that night. Soon after the heat of the crisis passed, he was idly browsing through the audio files stored in his phone, when he stumbled upon the recorded call. He shared the story with a friend, who told a friend, who told his brother Seun who is a graphic designer. 

Seun was inspired by the story and developed this design.

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