2007-03-25 : I am afraid and ashamed

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2007-03-25 : I am afraid and ashamed

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-03-28 07:59


I am afraid and ashamed

25 March 2007

Brendan Boyle’s ‘Mbeki blames white racists for SA perception of crime’, Mondli Makhanya’s ‘After bruises and broken bones, a lesson on Quiet Diplomacy’ and the editorial ‘Mbeki has lost the plot’ in last week’s Sunday Times generated a huge response. Here are a few of our readers’ views.

I am a 20-year-old second-year economics student and this is my response to crime in South Africa: I am afraid. And I am ashamed.

I am afraid to go out at night, no matter how big a group I am with. I am afraid to walk alone, even though walking in twos or threes doesn’t even make a difference these days. I am afraid in my own home; I am afraid I will wake up in the middle of the night and see someone standing there. I am afraid for everyone — for my family, for my friends and for my neighbours. I am afraid for every single South African.

I am also ashamed; ashamed that our government has taken so long to give even a little acknowledgement to the fact that our people are suffering because of crime.

I am ashamed because this environment we are living in is not conducive to the democracy we claim to be. I am ashamed that this is what my country has become. By denying the people’s pleas for help, the government is an accomplice to every murder, every rape, every hijacking and robbery.

I don’t want to live like this.

And (Safety and Security Minister) Charles Nqakula says that if we have a problem with the crime we should pack our bags and leave. My response to that is ‘Yes, I will do just that. I will knowingly and happily contribute to the growing skills shortage in South Africa. I will go somewhere where the government actually cares about their people’s safety, where I don’t have to worry about whether my children will live to go to university.’

It’s not a white thing, it’s not that whites are afraid of blacks or any of that nonsense. I am not white and I am still afraid. I don’t roll up my window when I see a black man approaching, I roll up my window when I see anyone approaching, because anyone poses a potential threat to me.

These days if you haven’t been a victim then someone you love has been. Stop making this a race issue, Thabo Mbeki. It’s not; it’s about human rights.

I am angry. I just want to finish my degree and I then I will leave. I chose to study economics because I wanted to make a difference in this country where so many of our people are not yet economically liberated, but I would like to live to make that difference and at this rate even that seems questionable.

What’s sad is that this is the sentiment among many of my friends, and they are all future engineers, economists, doctors and scientists. Is this really what the government wants? To drive out people who in a year or two will be graduates in fields that are experiencing drastic skills shortages?

I have always supported the ANC, their ideology and what they fought for, but when the next election comes they most certainly won’t have my vote .

Are you taking notes, Mr Nqakula? — S Joseph, Cape Town
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