South Africa "going to the dogs"??

Jun 25th, 2007, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

Firstly not one of my visits to townships ever ends before dusk and believe me there are many Fodorites who can attest to this. We always come out of the township after 20h00 purely because I find the best time to visit the people in townships is after they arrive home from work at 17h00. Thus in answer to your question I ALWAYS spend time in townships after sunset. Furthermore there are many meetings that I attend in Kayamandi that go way past 23h00 (at least once a month) and guess what I am still here to tell the tale. Amazing is it not! I might also tell you that I always tell my visitors to the township after sunset that they are breaking the first rule of township travel and that is being in a township after dark <sic>. I make it very clear to those who travel with me that this is a "white man rule" made up by people who have never even visited or been in a township in their lives. When I ask these white South African why they say it is dangerous to be in townships after dark, especially having never been in a township in their whole lives, they simply answer "we know of the dangers". If you ask me this sounds like some so called experts on this board.

In answer to another question of have I slept over in a township the answer is I dont know how many times as I have done this so much. Amongst others if I land up in late night meetings I stay over in one of 4 different homes of friends in the township. You could also ask me whether I would encourage my visitors to stay over in a township and my answer would be a definite yes just to live through the experience of township life.

I must als mention that at any given time there are over twenty visiting “white” foreign volunteers living in Kayamandi in what are called homestay which are nothing other than private guesthouses. Presently I have organised for a British 20 year old lady and a 19 year old Israeli male to stay in Kayamandi for 1 month. Before them we had two fantastic 18 year old girls from California staying in a homestay for a period that was supposed to be 2 months and was extended by them to 3 months. When these volunteers stay in homestays they walk around late at night just like everyone else and they have the time of their lives. Next month we have a 26 female teacher from Washington DC staying in the township for a month. I could go on and on with these type of stories

In terms of running my business from a township that would not be practical as all my visitors stay in Cape Town and the townships that I visit are at least an hours drive from the city BUT right now I am in the process of buying property in Kayamandi in collaboration with another person in Kayamandi where we have full intentions of starting up a joint venture type tourism business from this property.

In terms of carrying moneys in the township I am well known for carrying reasonable sums of money in the township when I visit the area as I pay people for goods such as fruit, services rendered etc. I have in 9 years had one incident of petty theft when a young kid stole a bag from my car and thats it.

Let me also tell you the story of Jan Viviers who is a well known "white" Afrikaans attorney working in Cape Town. Jan is a very special type of person who is married to a social worker wife (Karen) and they have three children (1 pre-teen daughter, 1 teenage daughter and a teenage son). Jan and his family have been living in Kayamandi for the past 9 years. They live in a smart house in the township and have two pretty expensive cars in their family. Jan and Karen moved into the township because they wanted to live and raise their children in the real South Africa. Some of my visitors have had the privilege of meeting him or members of his family and this includes quite a number of Fodorites. The Viviers family have never ever been affected by any sort of serious crime, as a matter of fact three years ago Jan was approached to run for the mayorship of Kayamandi, a position which he refused for personal reasons.

The Viviers family are not on their own anymore as today there are two other white families living in Kayamandi too. If you ask me it wont be long and there will be more soon as Kayamandi has amongst others got views to die for and the property values will attract all as time heals Apartheid type wounds between the different races of the new South Africa.

With all of the above being said I want to point out that many people have preconceived ideas that they think is correct but are all based on hearsay. I am not kidding myself that there are problems in townships but please tell me where in the world this is not the case. It simply is a case of watching ones back, knowing what to do and what not to do and then recognising what bigoted, bulldust things some people think of especially those, who after all that I have just told you, claim that the new South Africa is going to the dogs. To this subject of this thread statement all I can say is”!

As always I remain vry proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Guess you didn't read the last one through. I only stated what was told to me, many blacks preferred apartheid for their own very good reasons. I never said I supported it. And if you read it properly, you will see I implied I've returned many times to SA since. Not for just a weekend jaunt but for many months at a time. I have the feeling I've seen more of your country then you. I never said I was an expert, but was passing on my experiences that you fail to do. I don't have rose colored glasses. You don't even bother to answer my questions or repudiate me with specifics(danger in the townships- read the news). And telling us that you did not have any problems. Congradulations. Well done.You would think that one wouldn' bite the hand that feeds them, but it happens- doesn't it?

This further illustrates that you read what you want and disregard anything that isn't your point of view. Or do you read the news?

What do I need to do to tell you that I have some knowledge of the country, having lived in the homes of SAns in Pretoria, Joburg, Capetown for many months each. Guests of others in several other towns. Talk about dogs of choice--the criteria of many SAns. Walls that many SAns build(or would like to build) to try and have that safe and secure life, even with razor wire on top or where to live because of extreme safety concerns and those that have little or no choice on where to live. Battle signs that are posted at houses identified for break ins. Where else in the world do people talk about things like that? And yes I can read the papers. So much violence, its incredible, even to an American. And a lot that is just plain perverted.

But my all time favorite- is that the aids situation got so far out of wack, signs were posted on buses at one time that read something like "sex with virgins does not cure aids". I was told that the only way someone(based on Zulu belief if memory serves) could be sure if they had a virgin was to have sex with kids 7 or younger. What's that? Almost forgot. Shall we review what Mbeki said about hiv and aids, contrary to all scientific data?

IS THIS WHAT YOU ARE SO PROUD OF? Or are you living in denial?

Your Appointed SA Expert because the resident SAn will not step up, but prefers to talk of lofty platitudes.

This reminds so much of the blacks that pulled the racist card because they were losing the discussion.

luangwablondes is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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No matter which angle of this debate you may be in - In the white corner Luanguablondes, in the black corner Selwyn, in the green corner Thembi, in the blue corner orangetravelcat - there is one thing that is evident.

South Africa today is an emerging country with a terrible past (or South Africa today is a runined country with a glorious past) and the people who live in SA and work in SA and are desperately trying to make something of SA are not the ones that sit around making statements about how gloriously secure SA was under the apartheid regime, nor are they bouncing up and down now saying e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is sunshiney howdley doodley fantastic either.

The people who will make south Africa safe, secure, sustainable - a compassionate nation with proud and calm and happy people ARE black, coloured, white, muslim, jewish, christian, aethiest, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, consevationists, shop assistants, township dwellers, secure compound dwellers, small business owners, township tour operators, artists/crafts people, bus drivers - those that can take a higher view of where SA has come from and where SA is going and make it happen. Dissagreement will happen along the way.

Disenfranchised people no matter what their background will be lost, fearful and reactive - this translates to hatred, crime and defensiveness.

Sure their is corruption, apathy, their is percieved 'reverse dicrimination" there is poverty, crime, rape, child abuse, their are unsustainable canned hunting laws that were supposed to come into power but have not...All of these things must be addressed, but serving shop in a pharmacy in a 'western" country is not creating a new South Africa.

If there are people who long for the good old days - then let them pine - because they are and will be left behind.

Cheers All!
Who has an opinion...without any other authority than she can.
Thembi is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:45 PM
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Ooops. forgot to say, I do like South Africa.
luangwablondes is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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While I don't know much about South Africa, this conversation is very informative and interesting. There is always two sides to every story and I find this one fascinating. Please refrain from name-calling and let the debate continue. We can all form our own opinions and take whoever's side we choose but again, this is quite interesting and I'd like it to continue.
matnikstym is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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I am not going to make a judgement on any of this, as all i know first hand of SA is the game lodges and all the usual tourist attractions and cricket stadiums. However, what i do know is....before 1991, my indian passport clearly stated "not valid for travel to South Africa or Rhodesia".

HariS is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Wow Selwyn!-I think I am going to move to Kayamandi,sounds like paradise!

SOOOOOO different than my experience in Kabokweni.On average 6 gunshots per night,3 rape victims,many of them children and at least 10 other violent crimes PER DAY!!.Funny but I was only called once to testify in court in regards to a rape case-I am sure all the victims reported the crimes to the authorities.

Working in an ER staffed by 2 physicians and 7 previously disadvantaged nurses.We would see at least 112 patients per 24 hour shift in the ER.NIGHTS WERE MY FAVORITE as the nurses decided to devide their shifts where 2 worked and the other 5 slept.I was truly amazed to see all seven up and joining the mass action rally the next morning demanding higher wages!!!!

I dont doubt that you are working hard to build the NEW SOUTH AFRICA and I truly respect you for this-I just dont have the same experience.

South Africa will always remain close to my heart,I have family and real estate there but I choose to live my life in a country where people value the special gift called life .
safarinut is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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Safarinit, the stuff about the nurses is gratuitous and more than a little nasty. In fact it is so close to racist that if you do not see yourself as such you probably should consider seeing someone to talk it out and get a perspective. Seriously... you've got issues.... and don't blame it on Selwyn.... you typed it.
kimburu is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 12:40 AM
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This is news from rural England and a nice and prosperous part of the country at that -

I know one news item doesnt paint a real picture, but these things happen everywhere in the world. That doesnt condone innocent killings, but one needs to put a sense of perspective around the situation in SA. No one likes crime, violence but a majority thats been bottled up by 40 years of aparthied and nearly 200 years of oppression is going to vent at some point. It will take a generation for the excesses of the past to heal.

I said earlier that things will get worse before they get better. Thats no consolation to the families of 35000 odd murder victims or for that matter any victim of crime in South Africa. I have only visited SA as a tourist and I love the country, but I am willing to bet good money that inspite of all thats seen as 'wrong' with South Africa, a vast majority of the population will vote for the freedoms, liberties and rights that have been granted to them as a consequence of dismantling of the aparthied system.
amolkarnik is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 12:59 AM
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I hear what you say however I don’t really want to continue with the subject.

My feelings are that I could not care less what those who are critical of SA have to say as I know from being on the ground floor in SA that my country is NOT going to the dogs. What I also find interesting is that if one reads some of the mail responses in this thread it is obvious that much is written from a "white" perspective and NOT a real and new South African perspective. Furthermore the question of whether there is a yearning towards the “good old days” has been formally answered on every occasion since 1994 at the SA ballot box, thus merely by looking at these uncontestable figures I see no need to continue the debate.

I know that there are many South Africans of all races and creeds who are on a daily basis building this country at a pace that has not been equalled by many other countries of the world. NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP US FROM DOING SO. Thats what makes SA such an exciting country to be living in right now and that is why, to an extent, I actually ask myself why I even entered into the debate in the first place.

In summary I do not believe that SA is going to the dogs and right now I need to do whatever I can to ensure that the horrific days of old never ever happen in our great land again. VIVA South Africa.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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This debate challenges the truth of South Africa, which we all think we know, but what we know is really only our own truth born from our perspectives and reference bases.

I like many others am a South African living abroad and for the record married a foreigner who preferred the homeland to South Africa, while I wanted to pursue greater challenges in North America. I don’t need to go into my background to qualify my opinion, but like many others in my age bracket lived through the apartheid era and was of course caught up in it’s many intricate webs.

So if I may let me contribute a few thoughts to hopefully steady rather than rock the boat.

For many South Africa is going to the dogs. This claim, largely supported by the more privileged classes, is a truth. It is a claim that crosses racial boundaries as I have heard it said from a variety of colleagues who are black, white, coloured and Indian. Most of who are affluent, residing in expensive homes in popular residential areas of South Africa. I have heard it repeated by all: That they do live in fear, that they prefer not to venture out at night and that dining at restaurants in the suburbs has become such a nerve wracking experience that they now prefer to remain at home.

I will add that I have heard it repeated from friends who live lower down the order and in rudimentary homes, some in shacks, and typically in the townships: Nyanga, Gugulethu, Alexandria and Mamelodi that their lives are simply a living hell. They regret getting home from work, as they never know what will have remained in their homes. They are robbed frequently of the few possessions that they have, simple losses such as a portable radio, an iron, the TV a water boiling kettle, an alarm clock and so on. They too complain of fitful sleeps and the uncertainty that nightfall brings.

And of course I have read in the papers of the murders, rapes and sundry violent crimes that occur throughout the country on a daily basis.

I visit the country a minimum of four times a year and am acutely aware of the growth and economic development in the country, so much so that the existing infrastructure cannot cope with the pace. The roads around the major cities are choked beyond a simple traffic jam, the traffic ordinance is unreliable as the cities lack the man-power to maintain services, the electric grid is insufficient to cope with the demand causing major offensive outages in strategic centres, the fresh water supply is challenged and the waste water processing plants are failing with their over load. Supplementing those physical issues is the major emigration of the educated and skilled brains trust of the country. Motives for departure vary, but I believe that substantial economic incentive to be the trump card in most instances.

I could continue with many more examples that frankly are depressing truths about the uncontrollable downward spiral that South Africa is in, but I think that the image I have painted is clear and justified enough that I should paint another perspective, which is the positive image of South Africa that draws me back continuously tugging and challenging my expatriate disposition.
One only has to cast an eye over the amazing South African sporting talent to realize that South Africa offers superb foundations for the youth through its collection of world-class educational institutions. It is a country blessed with many fine businesses that not only guard their margins but; contribute beyond the scope of business by building on the countries already well preserved environment, by financing social programs, by complying with BEE legislation and by sponsoring education and mentorship programs.

The country enjoys the most progressive constitution that guards all forms of human life, promising equality across the board.

I know that my final paragraph reviewing the positive elements is succinct, but that is because there are so many examples that it would simply be impossible to relate them all in this forum.

What is compromising South Africa’s ability to really steam ahead, keeping the dogs at bay is not of its own doing entirely. I believe that the economic stability of it’s neighbours is fundamental to peace and success in South Africa. When Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana and Malawi are of sufficient means to employ their citizens, providing them with a livable wage and a self worth, and only then, will South Africa’s woes be negated. Assuming that good governance in all domestic matters will be applied at the same time to address issues of foreign invasions, crime and violence and the overall management of the rules and regulations of the country.
mkhonzo is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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I am set to visit in September. In speaking recently with a resident of Cape Town I was a bit shocked at the report that one of the campaign slogans of Jacob Zuma, who may succeed Mbeki as president in the next elections a few years from now, is on the order of "Death to Whites!" Is this true or an exaggeration?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Our superintendant(a great Indian fellow) was also called a racist when he tried to address this issue of staff sleeping on the job.He was forced off the hospital grounds by an angry mob shouting racial slurs.

Would you like to know more of the ambulance driver who used his ambulabce,while on duty,for a personal taxi service-probably not...OOH I should stop because I am probably being racist again.

Anyway,this type of response is be called racist whenever people cant defend their actions.

<<The country enjoys the most progressive constitution that guards all forms of human life, promising equality across the board.>>

If you dont provide your citizens with safety and security this constitution isnt worth the paper its printed on.

safarinut is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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To those who long for the "good old days": the apartheid gov't maintained its hold on the black majority through intimidation, force, murder, torture and rape. My guess is that most people who think the country is now going to the dogs weren't bent out of shape by any of that particular violence.

And, yes, the present crime rate is horrific. I'm not saying it isn't, but I admire people like Selwyn who remain positive and do their part to help their fellow countrymen. They're the ones who are going to help South Africa get through this crisis. Not the people who whine about having to be extra vigilant when they go out for a night on the town. I'm sorry, but that isn't living in fear. Not real fear.
TravlinFool is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Have you ever gone to the local police station to report a break in only to find the police officer too drunk to fill out your report,have you ever been stopped in Bushbuck Ridge by a traffic officer after ""speeding"" and the first thing he says is ""Sir ,how can we help each other"" proposing a bribe?

Please,dont talk nonsense about South Africans longing for the good old apartheid days-every citizen,green,black,yellow and white deserves better than this!

If everyone wants to keep blaming Apartheid for everything nothing will change.His Royal Highness Robert Mugabe is still blaming the Colonial powers for everything thats wrong in his country!!!His 27 year reign ,of course, has been impeccable
safarinut is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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Safarinut --

Thank you for the knee jerk reaction to my post. I did not "blame apartheid for everything." I used the words "horrific" and "crisis" to describe the present situation in South Africa. I also commended people like Selwyn for remaining positive and doing their small part to make things better.

I also wrote that there have been many crimes committed on South African soil. Let me be clear. I did not write that to excuse any present criminal activity, but to point out the irony of the situation. I'm sorry, but anybody who thinks that the South Africa of 40 years ago was ideal (i.e. the pharmacist mentioned in the initial post) has some serious issues.

And for the record, no, I have never encountered a drunk police officer on duty, but I have encountered thuggish (white) highway patrol officers in North Carolina demanding a bribe from my African-American uncle and mother. I was ten years old at the time, but my mother still talks about how scared she was that night.

So, yes, I was possibly glib when I made the comment about real fear. No one deserves to feel unsafe. But all you've done on this thread is rant and rave about how everything's gone to hell. Any time somebody writes something positive about South Africa, you bring up a laundry list of horrors. I get it. You hate the place. But do you have any suggestions for how you would improve the situation over there? And I ask that sincerely.

TravlinFool is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 03:53 AM
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Do any of the SA posters care to answer my question above regarding Jacob Zuma and his campaign platform?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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I'm not sure about Jacob Zuma's campaign slogan's - but I find it quite disturbing that a potential Presidential candidate is up for charges of corruption, as well as having rape charges (he has since been cleared) laid against him. And don't get me started on his signature song - "Bring me my machine gun"!
I don't agree with anyone who mentions the "good old days of Apartheid" - these people are clearly living in a dream world. Apartheid was completely wrong, and should never have been put in place.

The fact of the matter is - South Africa still has huge problems, but we are working hard to correct the imbalances of the past. Unfortunately - due to BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) policies, only a small elite group of previously disadvantaged citizen's are benefiting from the new democratic South Africa. A large percentage of the population still live in extreme poverty.

Speak to anyone who has travelled to South Africa - and they will tell you what an amazingly beautiful country we live in.

To all those South African's living overseas - you made a decision to leave, now live with it, and if you don't have anything positive to say or contribute to our Country - rather just keep your mouthes shut!

J_P99 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Without the rule of law a society will not move forward. Cummulative small corruption, large scale corruption, and mob rule - are all killers of countries.
Favor is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Man, there are a lot of twisted people involved in this thread. Based on the title of the thread, a few of us made observations, shared experiences and our opinions, put ourselves out there by discussing it. Yet, instead of discussion, we are told to shutup, called racist, told of the beautiful sights of SA(So does Zim and 100 other places), our discussion points ignored or distorted into something so far from what was said or implied, verbally attacked for this, and all that is said in defense is generalizations or sticking the blame on something else. And the weirdess reaction was to 'ring and run'.

Moving on gang. This whole thing was not about how beautiful the country is, politics, education, or whatever, but problems observed or perceived, and direction the country is headed in because of it.

And people ask me why I'm not interested in taking some Foderites on safari.
luangwablondes is offline  

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