I am as mad as hell today. Yesterday a person very dear to me was robbed at gunpoint. They are alive and only ‘slightly harmed’ physically – and in this country, that’s a miracle!
This makes 4 women in the last year, that I know personally, that have been violently attacked.
Now one may say that violence against women or violence in general is to be found all over the world so what makes South Africa different?
The difference is that with the amount and level of violence we should be at war – but we’re not, this is just how we live. There is no sense of restraint in the attacks of criminals in this country. Some of course are drug related, and because of that, violence almost makes sense – most however are not.
Rape, child rape, murders, muti killings, necklacing – these are everyday stories in our papers.
We live with electric fences, burglar bars, security guards, guns, alarm systems – all to no avail. We don’t walk around at night, can no longer enjoy mountain walks – too many muggings, and lock and bolt ourselves in our homes to keep safe. Very few of us are stupid enough to carry cash, and those that do are relived of their burden when going to ATM’s to withdraw.
There are very few places today where our kids can ride their bikes in safety. Gone are the days when parents waved their kids goodbye and they went out to explore the world. The amount of missing children in this country is staggering. Not only are they sexually assaulted by ‘normal’ predators but there is still in this day and age a strong belief that raping a child will cure people of aids to say nothing of being murdered by witchdoctors for tribal medicines!
The sad thing is that the average South African regardless of race or creed, is really warm and open and loving. The talent in this country in terms of art and culture and sport and literature is quite frankly awe-inspiring.
So where did we all go wrong?
Did the struggles of apartheid de-sensitize us? Are we just a brutal nation? Is it just a small element as the government would have us believe?
All I know for sure is that I have taken to avoiding the newspapers as much as humanly possible. I cannot bear to see another burnt body, murdered woman or broken child.
South Africa has so much to offer, so much passion and colour and life, but day by day we are surrounded by death and destruction – my heart breaks at the violence – truly.
I have no answers, but I’m still looking ….