Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lukewarm water anyone?

Given the increase in ocean temperature, inhabitants are sensing a 'time of scuttle-ment' to be upon them.

As South Africans we have a lot to be proud of. We also have a lot to be sorry for. Yet the past is the past and the future, the future, but where are we now? I have one brilliant lecturer who referred to us as the frogs who got into the pot when the water was lukewarm. It is currently at boiling point and we have yet to notice. Correction; we have yet to notice enough to encourage change.

This topic of debate was brought up when considering the light in which South Africa is being portrayed to the world with regards to visitors’ safety, given our current (FIFA) fame. We are depicted as a country with enormous crime statistics, crimes of the worst kind. There are arguments stating that the way in which the information is presented is gray, concealing the truth of the statistics – ‘these crimes only occur in certain areas of the cities of Southern Africa’ – my question is, is that okay? Does that make our ever-increasing crime rate excusable?

My intention is not to encourage a heated political debate, but to instil a small amount of personal motivation. I had never noticed the truth in our being desensitized to our countries extreme crime rate before. When you think about it, everyone in this country knows someone who has been a victim of crime. Some of us know more than one person and some of the crimes are more than horrific.

We have adapted, we have moved with the lukewarm waters into the almost-boiling, changing our minds and our approaches. We have altered our defences, evolving with the change. We are no longer able to feel free in our own homes. Instead we are suspicious of everyone; everyone is a possible attacker. We are wary of everyone that approaches us. We travel with the thought of safety in numbers. We leave valuables at home, tucked away in safe boxes. We live our lives according to a new clock; the safest hours to travel, to take lunch, to go to the bank. We park in well-lit areas, go out where police are present, we find comfort in bars of steel and break-proof glass.

We do all of this – are all of this – naturally.

People coming from around the world, from areas with the lowest crime rates in the world, have every right to look upon our country with distrust and concern. We are asking them to jump into a pot of boiling water, in which we find ourselves ever comfortable. Perhaps it is about time that we look towards something better and rise to the expectations of what is considered ‘safety’ by others. Time to have the temperature of the water readjusted a few degrees lower.

In the mean time we are suspicious, thus we are prisoners and I for one am no longer okay with that. I vote to taking a stand against crime in our country.


  1. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I agree with you 100%. If only more South Africans would take step up against crime. Our country would be a better place for us all.

  2. I agree with you. Having my sister here from the UK has brought up much convo about our country and the differences around the world. It is quite frightening.

  3. That is a very scary thought... "we do all of this naturally". Its so true. In South Africa we are forced to lock our doors and upgrade on our home security - actions which seem logical and accepted. That begs the question: What comes after boiling point?