Killing of UK tourist in SA makes world news

2010-11-15 08:51

The news of the killing of a British tourist in South Africa was all over the UK media today, with newspapers reminding readers of South Africa’s high “carjacking” and murder rates.

The Daily Mail website announced the story with the headline: “Honeymoon horror: Newlywed Briton’s wife is killed after robbers hijack them in taxi.”

It reported that Anni Dewani (28) and “millionaire businessman” Shrien Dewani (30) were from Bristol and got married two weeks ago.

The Daily Mail said after they had supper in the “up-market suburb of Somerset West” on Saturday night, the couple decided on their way back to “experience the nightlife” in Gugulethu township.

“Their route back to central Cape Town would have taken them past some of the city’s ramshackle townships, which house many of the city’s poorest black population,” reported the Daily Mail.

“While the townships are generally considered no-go areas for tourists, some of their restaurants and bars have gained a reputation as lively places to eat and drink.

“It is believed that, as they drove past the Gugulethu township, the couple decided to take a diversion into the area to experience the night life.”

The couple was hijacked and while the husband was dropped off unharmed, his wife’s body was found in the car a few hours later.

The Daily Mail said: “South Africa has one of the worst crime rates in the world, but most problems occur in the poorest areas where tourists are unlikely to stray.”

The Guardian newspaper’s website also reported on the story, saying that tourists were “rarely” crime victims in South Africa.

“South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with an average of 46 murders a day. The majority take place in townships, and tourists are rarely the victims,” said The Guardian.

“A huge increase in security for the World Cup helped ensure there were few serious incidents.

“Last year, there were 13 902 carjackings in South Africa, down from 14 915 in 2008/09. The annual murder rate fell by 8.6% to dip below 17 000 for the first time since nationwide records began in 1995/96,” reported The Guardian.

The BBC and The Telegraph also reported on the incident, which drew many comments from online readers.

“Jules” from California in the United States said of South Africans on the Daily Mail website: “The bottom line is until these people decide to help themselves, nothing will change.”

“Austin”, also from the United States, added: “Of all the beautiful places in the world, WHY would anyone in their right minds go for a honeymoon in such a vile, god-forsaken place?”

Several expats commented out of Australia, saying that they had left South Africa to protect the lives of their children and that the country was a “mess”.

South African-based readers, however, were less sympathetic.

“What the ‘frikkadel’ [meat ball] were they doing in a township!?” exclamed “Carina” on news24.com.

“If I go to another country, I wouldn’t go into their slums and expect to be safe. Now the whole of Cape Town gets a bad rep,” she added.

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