What’s lurking in the shadows?: Carien du Plessis

2013-04-23 10:00

SA’s women live an odd paradox. We have some of the most progressive laws for advancement in the world, but often there is fear laced into the fabric of living. Public and private spaces can be constructed on fragile foundations where too often property, hate and sexual crimes are risky cocktails, constructing fragile foundations for life. Four City Press staff members share how they negotiate fear and the joy of living

I am not afraid. Fear doesn’t dominate my life.

People ask me if it’s safe to run the streets of Jozi alone. While the violence and rape they imply with their question sometimes happen to runners, in a leafy suburb with security patrols, the potholes and cars are really more frequent threats, especially when the street lights are out.

On balance, when having to choose between staying at home and the magic of hearing my running shoes pound the quiet Jozi streets before 5am, the magic wins hands down.

Some might call me stupid and reckless, and maybe I’m lucky never to have been raped or assaulted (not counting the little incident when I had to shrug off some pimply teenager who inexplicably jumped on my back when I ran along a London canal a few years ago).

At high school in the late 80s, early 90s, around the time the ANC got unbanned, I walked to the township a few kilometres from my home over weekends to spend time with friends. We talked politics and life, and sometimes went to political meetings and marches.

One Saturday afternoon, two (black) guys, a year or two my senior, asked me in the township if I’m not afraid. I asked why I should be. One of them said: “You walk like you’re not afraid. That’s good.”

Out of what was possibly sincere concern, one of my teachers warned me that white girls get raped at protest marches. Not having much regard for her anti-left wing politics, I just shrugged and never took her “warning” into regard.

Without consciously meaning it, some white people think a place is dangerous or deserted when really there are many black people, ordinary men and women, who live and walk there.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Hip Cape Town bars to discover this summer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.