|Charl wearing his eye patch|
As Charl Fourie, a 30 year old who lost his left eye in a malicious attack says ‘’there are always 2 sides to a story’’ and this is his. A story of how a fun night out can quickly escalate with life altering consequences.
Four years ago during the cold winter of July in 2011 while leaving the car park from a bar in Kalk Bay harbour, his vehicle stalled while attempting to cross over the train track. The vehicle behind him collided into his rear bumper which set off a chain of reactions that will leave Charls’ life changed forever. Before he could even pull the handbrake up he was violently assaulted through the open window by a young man. He was unable to start the vehicle due to the cold engine. Being attacked and unable to drive away, Charl had no choice but to get out the car and defend himself from the oncoming bombing of attacks. There was a brawl before things calmed down for a short while.
|Charl with god-daughter Kiana.|
The two parties evaluated the damage between the two vehicles and found none which was visible. Things again started to escalate into which would leave Charl with an altered life. The friend of the man who had punched him, was still sitting inside the car, then climbed out and verbally confronted Charl. One of the two perpetrators pushed him onto his car and Charl head butted him during the scuffle. A steering lock was brought out of the attacker’s car by the driver and Charl was brutally attacked with what he recalls being hit three times. He ending up with a broken forearm, head and facial injuries, loss of visibility, copious bleeding and while left unconscious in the road, the attackers had fled the scene over the railway crossing.
|With his blue glass eye.|
After the attack of the steering lock he doesn’t remember what happened. Next thing he knew he was passing the local BP petrol station through Fish Hoek. He amazingly managed to drive himself with the bone protruding through his arm and having limited visibility to his parent’s house. After arriving at his parents’ house his father then rushed Charl to False Bay Hospital for immediate trauma intervention. The damage to his head was evaluated and stitches were attempted. He was transferred to the trauma ward in Groote Schuur Hospital by the CMR, who are the local paramedics. Charls’ skull had been cracked, his left eye torn and a bone was sticking out his arm. Emergency operations were performed to minimise the damage where possible. Unfortunately he was told a few days later his left eye had to be removed due to severe damage which was not repairable. ‘’I pleaded if anything else could be done,’’ Charl sadly explained. Surgery was done on the eye he was to lose, and after a long recovery, followed a facial bone and facial reconstruction surgery.
Today Charl still needs to have three operations done on both his arm and eye socket. He can be seen wearing his eye patch which he and his dad made themselves. Beneath that eye patch is a striking glass eye, a replica of the colour of the eye that he is left with, which is kept hidden from others. At first he had been fitted with a random blue eye while his glass eye was being made.
Charl who produces psytrance can sometimes be seen playing for the crowd at those parties, and is also now in the process of trying to start his own freelance business in web development and graphic design.
|Playing at a psytrance party.|
Loved ones were left feeling shocked and highly concerned once they had found out the news about what had happened to him. Charl had woken up to see his brother shedding a tear, and ever since vowed to be a better brother. He explained to me that because of what had happened he ‘’found out who true friends are.’’ He is godfather to his best friend Laurence’s daughter Kiana and a proud uncle to his baby niece.
Charls’ answer to my question of what was the hardest thing to deal with was ‘’what it did to my family. Seeing my parents helpless and concerned for my life.’’
His greatest fear in life now is losing his only remaining eye and succumbing to total darkness. This fear had made him a lot more cautious he explained.
He ‘’loves life more now.” And doesn’t have much tolerance for petty issues anymore. His outlook on life took a drastic turn and he doesn’t find himself dwelling on past mistakes. ‘’Grateful to be alive, not brain damaged or paralysed,’’ he said.
Charl jokes with me as we sit at our local pub, ”in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King!”
|Kelly (Laurencs’ girlfriend), Laurence and Charl attending a wedding.|