‘Real families are grateful that they were given an iPhone 2 last year, just like I was given an iPhone 7 last year.’
My experience of being ‘discovered’ on the streets of London was probably the most extreme one I’ve had. I stumbled into my first interview – on a Saturday morning for a Channel 4 news crew in Finsbury Park.
I had been packing my bag to go on holiday with a group of family and friends. I never expected to be filmed when I did, but that’s exactly what happened.
They thought I was their package – a young South African woman – the victim of a vile and barbaric racist attack by an English white man. They decided to risk their own lives in order to help, and it had to be that simple.
The effects of that fear and the unspoken rules of treating me as a package were brutal. I was terrified to leave my friend’s house, even to walk to the street, lest someone started shouting: “Murderer. Assassin. Terrorist.” It took a while for my sense of smell to return.
But my phone was not stolen, and I was not attacked. It was an example of being found in a place which you’re not expecting. I was caught in a trap by people with great potential to look great on TV.
I still can’t stop thinking about why someone would want to harm me. I feel extremely fortunate to have had an iPhone. The fact that I was caught in the eye of the storm made me realise how lucky I am to have such a mobile. It was a platform for a freelance journalism career, and I am absolutely ecstatic that my friends and family made me realise this at the beginning. I ended up in a good situation, but it would have been the same if I had left my phone in Africa in that time.
I won’t be saying goodbye to my iPhone anytime soon. Even when my friends bought me an iPhone 5S last year and the best gig in my life came around, I still kept my iPhone 7.
We are returning Apple’s phone to the can, and supporting RethinkATM, which empowers and helps financial causes. The idea is simple: people would never dream of bothering a family on holiday or raising money for their long-term health problems.
That same good thing will apply to a bigger platform, and have a huge potential to help a range of causes. The situation I was in has given me an increased sense of awareness around being found when you’re not expecting it, but that is exactly what I can use the platform for now.
People have said that you can always use technology to your advantage. I don’t know that you can.