Crime Pays in South Africa

When the English left India they broke the fingers of the workers in cotton so the worker could no longer make the cotton trade. In much the same way the greatness of South Africa is undermined and belittled on the world stage by the idea that it is crime ridden and unsafe.

It’s no coincidence that this crime narrative has emigrated and populated the the world in tandem with the migration of white South Africans post apartheid. And as they flew away with bitter seeds in their mouths exiled South Africans of all colours flocked back with the sun on their shoulders and thus could not combat the implanted “crime stories” from being sown, from becoming the definitive imbalanced international narrative about their new country.

What the crime story implies is that South Africa – by proxy south Africans – can not be trusted. In England not even a world cup has put paid to the myth. In the press in England you’d have thought the world cup was being held in a war zone and yet after the world cup with such low crime statistics where was the broadcast to say “Sorry South Africa we were wrong”?

Spare me a Johannesburg crime story: I am not saying there is no crime. But it is astounding that of South Africa’s incredible growth when the subject occurs at a dinner party in London, Hamburg, Paris, car jacking becomes the topic of reference. How unutterably unsophisticated and transparent: One just can’t trust the natives. Who is paying for this crime narrative and who is it benefiting? Crime pays in South Africa, but for whom?

2 thoughts on “Crime Pays in South Africa

  1. Much the same can be said for Liverpool. Here it's linked to a bitter kind of humour, but it's part of the whole deprivation index irony that by casting areas as bottom of tables year after year it kinda prevents transformation. It also acts as a form of protectionism for those in positions of legitimate and illegitimate power locally.
    The drugs trade surely has a lot to do with this – drugs being horrifyingly powerful in the way they stultify growth and innovation and reinforce hierarchies – again both legal and illegal drugs…

  2. Yes it is untterably unsophisitacted and depressingly familiar to hear South Africa referenced by talking of car jackings, or murders over mobile phones, the violence is there but to what extent and why is conveniently sidestepped! The brutality of Apartheid meted out over decades has undoubtedly done great damage as has capitalism whose jaws South Africa had to walk into post Apartheid, with IMF impositions and talk such of privatising water! Meanwhile the country's wealth, largely held in the hands of the whites has not been distrubuted, the economic balance of power is still unequal. Not to say there are no poor whites, we know there are, but that fundamental imbalance has yet to shift. There was truth and reconcilitaion but the new society is yet to be built.

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