For most South Africans, South Africa seemed so peaceful, happy, picturesque, charming, simple, carefree, idyllic almost with beautiful beaches, crystal seas and blue sky all around wherever you looked. Some visiting the country would say: South Africans are really fantastic people,really genuinely friendly too. A place so stunningly beautiful it was well worth visiting there again. So where has it all gone wrong then?
Crime had always been high in townships,and up until the 1990's it didn't bother white people that much unless we were called upon to do our National Service. The exceptions to this was of course our farmers who had been targeted for attacks for many decades long before the end of Apartheid rule. Other than that on the surface life was fine in South Africa,even black people would have to agree to that. In fact people of colour in South Africa seem to moan a lot more today than they did 40 or 50 years ago despite the fact that the "idyllic lifestyle" only served a privileged few.
The there is HIV/AIDS. This diseases and its consequences has wreaked havoc in communities across South Africa. You then had children growing up without parents,living with grandma who wasn't always capable to look after them,but still she tried her best to bring her grand kids up. The result is a 'lost generation',who respects no one or anything in life and turned to crime at a very young age.
When Apartheid eventually ended,the gates to those perceived to 'have' were opened to those that clearly 'had not' in society,slowly at first,but then gradually it became flooded. Rumours abound with the so-called "third force" at work that was behind all the violent crime,but really it was people who had nothing else to do all day and nothing to lose for that matter that turned to murderous crime.
Then too there is the illegal migration into South Africa from people across different parts of Africa. Neighboring Zimbabweans came in and Nigerians especially have set up shops in all of our major cities. Inner city areas of Hillbrow, Yeoville, Berea, Braamfontein, Jeppe town, Joburg CBD have become no-go areas since then with illegal drugs, guns, prostitutes running rampant over there.
In the 1970's one could go running by yourself at night,drive around on your own,meet up with friends late at night and never ever felt unsafe in Joburg growing up there.Joburg was a surprisingly safe city to grow up in.Personally in Hillbrow I never once felt threathened there at all.The system that was set up couldn't cope with all the migrants coming in because our first world infrastructure was for all intents and purposes designed to cater for the minority of the population,not the influx of illegal migrants from outside South Africa. The police is of no help and security companies only looked after those that can afford to pay to have their services.
Having said all this,its save to say that the majority of everyday South African people are law abiding people across our different races. Most of us enjoy a normal life,relatively speaking, and we do hope things can change for the better in our country. You do get the impression that people outside of South Africa looking in thinks everyone experiences murderous violent crime on a daily basis,when that clearly is not the case.
Only a percentage of our population experience exceptionally and abnormally high levels of violent crime,not all of us. Everyone at some point had been a victim of crime that's for sure,some of us had been extremely lucky to still be alive today and still talking,but to label South Africa as a whole as being a savage,lawless,brutal country is bit over the top. It's the natural reaction some of us or our famly or friends have when we have encountered a violent incident of crime.
To me South Africa is still a beautiful country to live in,however you do need eyes on the back of your head if you are going to survive here. More so in our bigger cities where common sense and good judgement is an absolute must. People are living on the edge in the big cities,but that is true of every other country in our world. Our violent crime is just so much more terrible at times than other nations.
Driving around with locked car doors,jumping traffic lights in crime ridden areas,living barricaded with alarms,dogs,security companies in your area is where we at,at the minute.
South Africa has got many problems that's true,but to extrapolate them is absurd. The widely held opinion that South Africa is a country you need to avoid because of your 1 in 50 chances of getting murdered is a very sad perception and portrayal of South Africa and South Africans as a whole.