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South Africa: War Rising

15 February 2013, 16:07

As much as I try to focus on the good news of South Africa, we are currently a country at war, just a week after the History Channel did a special on us called “Miracle Rising.” It was a show that highlighted how South Africa miraculously defeated the odds. But the truth is, today we are at war with our fight against crime, women abuse and the media that seem to overspeculate and sensationalize. As indicated by today’s front-pages, spattered in innocent blood…

How ironic that our State of the Nation address coincided with several other incidents: Valentine’s Day, the shooting of model Reeva Steenkamp (now infamously remembered as the shot girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius) and the day that was meant to create more rape awareness, by wearing duct-tape for an hour in remembering Anene Booysen, mutilated, raped and killed at only 17. A day of love turned into a day of hatred.

The media have been sharing private tweets between Oscar, Reeva and his family. Is this an invasion or privacy or public knowledge? Have social media destroyed privacy of self? 

As for protection of privacy, did Zuma address enough the main issue of our country: the unsafety of our children who are at risk on a daily basis of being abused by a family member, a family friend or for use by strangers as muti (dismembering body parts for medicinal purposes). No, he didn’t. Love for our country’s future, our children, did not feature enough this Valentine’s Day…

The child molester’s usual excuse: “I was molested myself.” Stop the curse then. Stop stealing from the one soul that can save you: the purity of a child.

Did he address our horrifying rape stats with more vigour? No, it’s a touchy subject, as most of us will recall… A woman is estimated to be raped every few seconds or minutes in South Africa (depending on reported or unreported cases) and baby rape is a shameful reality, a social myth built up by the idea that “having sex with virgins will cure you of HIV/AIDS.”

RIP Anene Booysen, you would have been celebrating your Matric Dance soon. Instead, you dance among angels. A few people wore duct-tape for an hour yesterday in memory of you, trying to speak for the voiceless. These men that ripped your intestines out and broke your bones may have stolen your dignity, but not your vision. Your hope, but not your legacy. Your innocence, but not your pledge.

There is only one way to envision a new South Africa, by seeing and hearing with the eyes and ears of our children. That is where true courage lies. Anene, you are the face that launched a thousand voices. 

Your death strangely coincides with Belgium’s decision to perhaps release their most infamous paedophile, Marc Dutroux. He mutilated, raped and videotaped six girls we know of. Two were buried alive. Two were still alive when police asked questions… Melissa and Julie were placed on milk cartons, posters and still we found them too late. Next week, he may be walking free. That’s the logic of today “Create space in jails and chaos in society.” I guess one is safer in a hole after all… 

RIP Reeva Steenkamp, you were on your road to even bigger stardom. Tomorrow marks the day your reality show will normally go to air. Tropika’s director, Samantha Moon, is determined to show South Africa what a “bubbly, lovely, beautiful person” you were.

There is a terrible notion built into the minds of many South African men: submissive women feed your manhood. If she does not listen, beat her. If she carries on saying no, rape her. 

Reeva, accident or not, your death shows the paranoia even our seemingly strongest men go through. 

Anene and Reeva, South Africa apologizes for not giving you enough attention. Those who did this to you got more media attention. Woman of the future, woman of the present and now women of the past, may your legacies live on, not as victims of violence, but as ambassadors of peace and change. That would be the true miracle rising…

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