Victoria Smurfit, star of the BBC drama set in Ireland, “Ballykissangel,” was driving with he husband Doug and other family members to a party to ring in the New Year in Cape Town when a bullet whizzed through the car.
The 35-year-old Dublin-born actress has since learned that the episode was probably part of a gang initiation in which young men kill tourists to gain admission to gangs.
“Apparently what happened to us was a gang initiation,” she states. “A young man wants to feel he belongs to something, tries to attach himself to a group but has to prove his mettle.”
“It was Kill a Tourist Day,” she explains. “And we were in the way. It is frustrating not knowing who the shooter was. Not as frustrating as it must be for him, unsure if he is now a murderer. Maybe he is only 12.”
Smurfit was at first too scared to look around to see whether her loved ones were hurt. If the bullet had been half-an-inch closer to her sister-in-law, the woman would have died, Smurfit says.
Yet when they called South African police to report the incident, the officer just said “yes, thank you,” and hung up. It was only when a member of the family later met someone who had police connections that the investigation went further, although Smurfit has not found out who was responsible for the attack.