I was talking to a good friend of mine on the weekend about a number of things as the conversation wound down I said with a sigh: “oh well that’s life” !
He turned to look at me clutching his ice cold Hansa that I was admittedly eyeing out and said: “No”
“No, it’s not life, I’ve been alive for 24 years and it’s not life.”
When someone breaks into our house and only steals the entire contents but no one is hurt they are not lucky and it is not part of life. As South Africans we have become accustomed to certain very harsh realities about life here. One of them is that no matter how high your fences are or how high-tech your alarm system is there is a very real chance that at any point your house could get broken into. So often family members are either beaten or raped or murdered for no real reason, so we call the people who were tied up and harassed ‘lucky’ because they were not killed in the process.
When I was growing up I thought being lucky was finding a Smartie I had dropped a month ago on the floor of my mom’s car, then as I grew older it became getting lucky which involved a older boy from K.E.S and the St John’s Valentines social. Now if I’m lucky I can have my possessions taken from me without being killed.
It’s not life we are not lucky and just plain nonsense.
By calling ourselves lucky not to be raped and shot are we not enabling in a sense? I can foresee the hate mail flooding in already; but are we not in a sense making it okay and normalising the problem. Is it ingrained in our thinking because we have been exposed to it for so long? If violent crime…or crime in general happened less in South Africa would it be dealt with more harshly would it be frowned upon more?
When Whitney Houston is on the front cover of the newspaper and shoved in the dark corners where no one really bothers to look are the stories of the kidnappings, rapes, robberies and murders; surely we have a problem?
Although being Whitney Houston is the greatest crime of all…some may argue.