Homo Escapeons left me this comment on this post. It reads as follows: Africa is presented by the media as one huge gigantic mess and next to the Middle East, the most dangerous place to live in the entire world. To be honest our understanding of Africa is that it is a time bomb. Thanks to the myriad of insurmountable obstacles that must be overcome from HIV & Overpopulation… most disconcerting of all is the failure of emancipated Colonial slaves to make any progress because of the spectacular reversion to tribal/political warfare and tyrannical despots. From Darfur to Joburg all we get from the media are horrible violent images and endless images of suffering and savage inhumanity… so we have no idea what is really going on because we only get BAD news. Sadly, I would say that most Westerners know more about saving the great Apes in equatorial Africa and stopping poachers who slaughter Elephants, than they do about the 870 million people who are trying to dig themselves out from under Centuries of oppression. Recently I watched a documentary; Guns, Germs and Steel, and learned how the Europeans successfully conquered South Africa thanks to the similarities in climate and eliminated tribal resistance through superior technology and disease… just like the Conquistadors did in latin America. I would love to hear your side of it because I saw another documentary on Joburg which is the murder capital of the world. All we get over here is Darfur/Black Hawk Down/Blood Diamond/Hotel Rwanda/Gorillas In The Mist you get the picture… from here it looks hopeless and insane… from top to bottom… how would you describe it?
Well… you said it dude! “hopeless and insane… from top to bottom…” is not far from the truth IMHO.
Honestly, I wish I could tell you the media has it bass-ackwards… but as much as I love my country, it really is a very scary place!
We live behind gates and high walls and burglar proofing and alarms. We even have gates inside our houses between the different areas like bedrooms and living spaces, just in case the bad guys get past the outside security measures. In fact, seeing a house without a high wall and/or razor wire is unusual. You don’t drive with your car doors unlocked or windows open for fear of being hijacked. You clutch your belongings to you in public for fear of being pick-pocketed. School kids are mugged for cell phones or their bicycles. And not just held up- they’re often stabbed or shot even if they cooperate. When I was a kid- we often disappeared for a whole Saturday on our bicycles- with no cell phones or even specific destination… now I hardly dare let my teenage son out of my sight and I worry constantly if he goes out alone to ride his bike or skateboard! And despite what our president says (that it’s the racist white’s fear of blacks and not actual crime) it’s a very very real problem. And it truly doesn’t matter what colour your skin is… everyone is affected in one way or another. No one is safe from any kind of crime. You will not find anyone who does not have a crime story or six of their own. Most children’s first sexual experience is not voluntary. Corruption is drastic- in our leaders especially.
And before I get shot down as a negative pessimistic racist- I’ll say one other thing, I think it is simply a case of people like me having access to email, telephones, websites and blogs where I can talk about the crimes I experience and the crimes that the ones close to me are exposed to- where most South Africans living in townships without even electricity are just as affected by crime (if not more so since they don’t have the alarm systems and razor wire we live behind in the suburbs) but do not have as much opportunity to gripe about it. It also seems to me that it truly does not matter where you live or what precautions you take- I have friends and relatives who live on farms, on small holdings, in residential suburbs and inside supposedly secure townhouse complexes who have been attacked and robbed and burgled and hijacked on more than one occasion.
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.