I am sure that most South Africans have read the http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2137420,00.html#ixzz2MH5s4Ulx Times article “Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence”. From the hysterical reactions on Social Media and radio programmes, it is apparent that Perry has become our resident Frankenstein’s Monster.
This astonishes me about South Africans of all colours (with the exception of some moaning myrtles who packed for Perth, Putney and all those other "exotic" destinations), we have quite a knack for crucifying outsiders who dare stain our reputation from the outside. Then we stand together with our very bombastic and arrogant online manners!
But when quarrelling amongst ourselves, all is fair in love and war. As long as no Brit, European, Australian and especially American dares to give their input.
Immediately the outsider will be accused of not grasping the complexities of South African politics and history. People will start playing the man, bringing up horrid stories from Sandy – Hook, to the Vietnam War, the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima and the Holocaust. All in an effort to exempt ourselves from any wrongdoing, making us feel better about being South African.
We are not that bad, not as evil as the Wild West. (which is true, most South Africans are not bad and evil beings, I agree)
At first glance, Perry made some valid arguments, if one can overlook the obviously silly and sensationalist views, for example the somewhat idiotic notion that the Anglo Boer War (The South African war) still rages between English and Afrikaans speakers. I also found the fact that whites isolate themselves in “security complexes” laughable. I have never had the opportunity to live in one of those, but several of my senior colleagues and boss, live in some of the most upmarket complexes in Johannesburg. All of them are black and Indian people. Yes in middleclass suburbia, without the fences and high walls, most have an alarm system and two large dogs, but many don’t own guns. Not all of us are constantly paranoid. We take precautions and go on with our lives. I don’t think there is one area in the whole of Gauteng that is exclusively “white”. In fact, suburbia has become very much cosmopolitan these days, with nationalities from as far afield as Iran, Bulgaria and Pakistan living peacefully with ordinary white and black South Africans in leafy suburbs.
Now to the Townships, where “our blacks kill blacks from other nationalities, and where vigilante killings are rife”. Perry totally ignores the Spirit of Ubuntu that exists in most of these places. I was fortunate enough, to live and work in some very astoundingly poor and “dangerous” townships, when I was younger. You will find your Tsotsi’s and gangsters, but in general these areas are filled with life and friendly people, with one thing in common ; Their struggles, but also their hopes and dreams. A Hope of a better future, which they duly deserve, after years of Apartheid, and a still incompetent ANC –government who fails to deliver on so many levels.
Many people attempted to absorb Time Magazine’s cover story. I thought that Sarah Britten http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/sarahbritten/2013/03/01/south-africa-and-that-time-cover/ had a good take in her piece on thoughtleader.co.za . There were also poor attempts, for example one anonymous Afrikaner, (who turned out to be the daughter of Bles Bridges) who miserably failed to grasp the contents of the Times article, and in return blasted Perry with some highly suspicious statistics of her own. The woman, Sunette Bridges, is clearly out of her depth regarding politics and statistics, and I am somewhat ashamed that her ramblings were retweeted by Alex Perry for the whole twittersphere to see.
We all know crime is out of control. It is a given. No statistics Perry quoted is new to us, but what is the relevance to some white boy, who shot his girlfriend (under very suspicious circumstances)?
If you dig deeper into what the article actually tries to say, it is evident that most people failed to understand the gist of it and the agenda behind it.
If you recall Time magazine recently named Oscar Pistorius one of the most influential people of the year. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2112134,00.html Now that a hero has fallen, some damage control should be done.
If you read between the lines, in summary, this is the only thing that Perry tried to say:
Reeva Steenkamp was somewhat of a materialistic “airhead”, especially where Perry quotes her tweets while she was on vacation in Cape Town. Then comes the 5 page argument: Because of Apartheid, a large income gap exist, and white South Africans are petrified of blacks and live in constant fear of these murderers, robbers and rapists. The whites are so rich, and so full of fear that they hide in laagers. All of them are prepared to shoot the first savage that jumps the wall.
That is why Oscar pulled the trigger. It could not be premeditated murder, the guy made a mistake. He feared the Swart gevaar. It was homicide. He should be excused.
There you have it. That is all. If you sift through Perry’s argument, the agenda becomes clear. The Time magazine is using the sad crime situation we face as South Africans, to try and find excuses for the death of Reeva.
Would it not have been better for Perry to have waited until the 4th of June 2013, and then rethink how he would have positioned the fate of Oscar Pistorius, and the very tragic death of a beautiful young South African woman?
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