Dans La Réponse…

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.

7 thoughts on “Dans La Réponse…

  1. s.w.: it does indeed…

    terri: heh heh… sorry terri- dint mean to lecture you… mwaaaaaaaahahahahahaha! i have friends that are leaving for nz in a coupla months time!

    budvo dawn: I’m so glad you’re back- I was very worried about you and couldn’t even check up on you with messenger! And no, I’m still not sorted out laptop-wise… trust me, when I am, you’ll hear about it!

    allan: um… since our president says the crime “problem” doesn’t exist and that racist whites are blowing things out of proportion, that would probably mean that no, nothing is ‘being done’…

    peong: heh heh, i am half ashamed (yes only half) that i am not watching the cricket… i am one of the few south africans who is more disturbed by the fact that there’s nothing on tv besides cricket! i catch results on the news- when i watch the news- and then i cheer or mourn accordingly, but that’s about it. the only sport i really enjoy is motor racing, so a1 & f1 feature strongly for me, and i love going to live rugby games… but that’s about it.

    supermom: 0;-6

  2. So this is a completely unrelated comment for this post, accept that it may be about national pride of some kind. I am just wondering if you and D are at this moment chewing your fingernails down watching SA bat, or if you guys even watch cricket. I am trying to keep up on line since I can’t even get ICC world cup on pay per view.

    My sis was up in the middle of the night in Oz to watch, and mentioned that the brumbies (her super 14 team) were in SA today too.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that I am back. This was a very interesting comment and extremely thought provoking. Picking up on what you have said about lack of access, I think is very true. I have often said that the crime “white” SA is now experiencing has gone on in the townships for the longest time. One of the effects of the new SA is that those horrific acts of crime and brutal violence have now spilled over into white suburbia and it caught the country off guard. I never claim to have any kind of worthy political opinion, but what I call the good old bad old days of SA are long gone. When I last visited some 6 years ago, I was shocked by the fact that my friends with very young children were not the slightest bit concerned that razor wire and electric fences are a normal part of their lives. While I totally understand that there are a lot of South Africans who might not be able to leave because of visa/work/passport restrictions, there are also an alarming number of South Africans who don’t get that there is a drastic difference between quality of life and standard of living. I am constantly homesick for many things South African, but after my last visit there, I knew there is no way I would choose to go back and live under the conditions that exist and with that sense of fear. It makes me extremely sad because a very big part of me would love to go home!
    Are you back on line full time yet? Love you. xox

  4. Ja OK I get the message!
    So I don’t want to stay where I am but home is not what home was… looks like I may end up joining the kazillion other South Africans heading to Oz at some point. At least there’s sun there!

  5. Whoa… that guy left you a long comment!

    I hear you on the difference between then and now. Our parents let us out and we disappeared all day, every day, no worries. It was great.

    Now I worry if my son’s out of my sight for longer than twenty minutes outsite. And we live in a rural area. It sucks.

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