South Africa goes to the polls today as a damaged nation.
Amidst the political rhetoric, mud-slinging, dirty slogans and plethora of promises in recent months, there’s been little focus on the daily battles of vulnerable South Africans.
There’s anger, fear; there’s violence, brutal crime and murder. Our moral compass oscillates at dangerous levels in the direction of women and child abuse. It’s where political parties fall short in their manifestos as they prefer the reactive rather than proactive approach. They know they can always show that they care by handing out some party T-shirts and gathering a group of members to protest outside court after a heinous act has been perpetrated. So for now, it isn’t a big deal, right?
And that, for me, is where we have gone so wrong as a nation. It shatters my heart into a million pieces, as cliched as that sounds. The danger is if we continue on this trajectory – then South Africans will become so de-sensitised to crimes against women and children that there won’t be any momentum to reverse this pattern of abuse. It cannot become the norm.
Recently in my newswriting lecture to students at Rosebank College in Durban, we discussed news values. Years ago, family members killing each other would make front page news because it was out of the ordinary. Today it isn’t. It happens almost on a daily basis. The same holds true for the rape of toddlers. It really pains me to type that.
This week, two such cases shook the core of my being. I initially saw the headlines and vowed not to read further. It’s self-imposed censorship in a way. But then, the journalist in me needed to know.
Kimberley – The body of the two-year-old girl who went missing in Rooikoppies, Delportshoop was so badly mutilated that it could not be determined whether she was raped or sexually assaulted as “her vagina had been cut out”.
Read the full story here…
DURBAN – A Phoenix man has handed himself to police after his wife was found burnt to death in Stonebridge, Phoenix last week.
A source has revealed to The Mercury that the man, in his 40s, handed himself over to police at the Durban North police station and was then taken to the Phoenix police station for processing.
Last week, the woman’s charred remains were found in a home in Stonebrige.
At the time, the woman’s body was found under a blanket and it is suspected that the house was set alight.
You can continue reading the story here
I have asked these questions so often before and 25 years into democracy, they really cannot be swept under the carpet. Why are we killing our own? Why are we most under threat from those closest to us?
What drives such perverse behaviour? Is it poverty, unemployment or simply a lack of respect for human life? It’s what political leaders need to be interrogating and engaging citizens on – election period or not. But it doesn’t happen.
You may argue that service delivery and job creation are bigger issues. But I will argue that they all are inter- linked. I strongly believe that the abuse of women and children in South Africa is symptomatic of the shortcomings of our democracy. It cannot be viewed as an “aside issue” given the frequency and severity of cases.
And I will not be apologetic for raising it as often as possible. It’s my democratic right.