Black child, you can’t be a child in your democratic motherland

2014-03-28 14:54

I watched in fury today as I saw snapshots of funeral proceedings of 9 year old Elihle Hlanjwa who was raped, set alight and left for dead. The sheer brutality of the act sickens me to the absolute core my being. It wasn’t enough to violet her and rob her of her innocence, no, it had to be her life too that was stolen. Emihle your fighting spirit saw you defy the hands of death for nearly three months, fighting to stay alive. I commend your life and spirit Elihle. Your funeral got me thinking about the state of many black children growing up in the townships of South Africa. To be black and a child is a very dangerous status to occur in post democratic South Africa.

Each day many black children, by black I include black African and black Coloured, wake up and operate from a place of fear. Nowhere are they safe as children.

Black child, in many townships, children are overwhelmed by a sense of danger and fear. Children are in constant fear of teachers who violently beat them and make unwanted sexual advances and assaults on them. Compound that with peers and youth gangsterism within schools and streets. Not only does the journey going to school pose a threat but being in the classroom can often be fatal as you don’t know when a gang war will erupt in class or spill over into your classroom. Yes, yet people blame you black child for having the many barriers to learning that have come to be associated with you.

The journey home is unsafe. If you are not being run over by cars while crossing busy streets, you cautiously take ‘safe’ routes to avoid the youth gangs who you may come across along your way on the long walk home from school. While walking the long distance from school you may find yourself kidnapped and brutally violated by a perfect stranger who cares nothing about your humanity. Theirs is to take what is not theirs and strip you of your humanity and innocence.

While playing in the street, a family friend or neighbor may call you to go to the shop for them. On your return you may come to be attacked, raped, and threatened with death if you are unlucky. If not, you may even be killed because yours is not a body or humanity they can respect.

Black child, the justice system will fail you. It will contaminate evidence for your case, if you ever report the crime at a ‘functional police station’ where you will be ostracized and potentially violated again by the very men and women in blue who have sworn to protect you. If you are lucky to ever appear in court, expect to be grilled and have your truth undermined in a dehumanizing manner. This is because your humanity is hard to recognize and you do not possess the economic means to buy justice in your democratic motherland.

Most importantly black child, you will be robbed of an opportunity to enjoy your childhood. You will live in fear from childhood to adulthood in the streets of your underdevelopment community. Freedom you ask? Well, your freedom is an absent present that you may die trying to realize. Yours is a humanity that cannot be valued 20 years into the democracy of your motherland.

Lala ngoxolo Elihle Hlanjwa.

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2010-11-21 18:15

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