Cry the beloved children

July 3, 2007 at 10:44 am (Maddy McCann, missing, murder, pervert, racism, sadness)

How do you deal with this? How do you cope with yet another child going missing?
I simply can’t comprehend the horror of so many moms out there what with all these little children, mostly girls, going missing in SA these days.
What’s even more disturbing is that the last three big cases have all come out of coloured communities in areas where gangsterism, poverty and illiteracy are incredibly high.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it happens in all communities but these cases obviously hit home for me because it’s where I come from (in at least one of the cases).
I know the desperation, the fear, the hopelessness of these families. They don’t have money to put their kids into daycare; they work hard to earn a measly hundred rand a month, if they’re lucky.
I know the anger, the frustration and the desperation of the men who hang on street corners with nothing to keep them busy. It’s obviously not an excuse, this much I know.
And it makes me angry. I know people suffered in the past. I know black people suffered most in the past but what makes me really angry is the suffering of coloured people (especially in the Western Cape) is largely ignored or played down.
I am certainly not one of those people who feel permanently victimised, as many coloured folk are. I don’t always agree with the not-white-enough-then-not-black-enough argument. I think we should get over it.
But I do know that when pain and suffering is measured coloured people get the short end because they haven’t suffered “as much”.
If anyone cared to take a deeper look at places like the Cape Flats they would know that you can’t measure suffering in that way. T
he many, many people who don’t have jobs, who drown in drink and drugs just to make it all go away is immeasurable. The absolute terror of living in a place like Manenberg/Bonteheuwel/Hanover Park/etc…
All I know is that not everyone who comes from Mitchell’s Plain is as lucky as I am. Not everyone could go to university and get a good job. Not everyone had parents who are still together after 26 years of marriage. Not everyone had teachers who would go the extra mile to help them do well at school. I could go on.
I know there are some who are lazy and want to bum around but I also know there are some who just can’t make a better life for themselves because they can’t.
They can’t afford to study so they can’t afford to get better jobs. They can’t move out of the drug/violence-filled area and so the cycle goes on and on.
Words almost fail me when I try to explain how I feel about this. I may not even be making sense now. I am incredibly, inexplicably angry. And I don’t know what to do about it.

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She’s not blonde

June 15, 2007 at 9:52 am (missing, news&media)

Yet another child has gone missing. Except she’s not making international headlines. Mikayla Rossouw is just another little girl in South Africa who has fallen prey to the evil men who walks among us.
Her parents are agonising and her community is hurting. Search parties have been walking the streets hoping to find her. And yet it only cracks the local press.
What is it about the Maddy McCann saga that made it such a huge thing? Mrs M mentioned people have been flocking to her blog because she had posted about the little blonde girl. From far and wide everyone made their views known. Why her?
I’m not suggesting we should’ve forgotten about Maddy, as she’s come to be known. Nor am I saying we shouldn’t write about her. All I’m asking is why this girl? Why this case? Every day kids in SA disappear. If the story makes the papers all week it’s a miracle.
I know it’s probably not fair to say it’s because Maddy is blonde and blue-eyed but every now and then the thought pops into my head. It’s unfair and a gross generalisation so to speak and yet it’s still there.
I get angry when I think of all our children who are kidnapped, abused, killed with only a column on page 6 in our local press telling us about it. While Maddy dominates the front pages of world media Mikayla only appeared on the front of the Cape Argus.
Obviously me writing about this won’t change a thing but I’m hoping it will help me figure it out. Maybe someone out there can tell me why Maddy gets so much more airtime than the Mikaylas of the world. Why is it? I just don’t know.

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Farewell my friend

May 9, 2007 at 7:57 am (friends, missing, moving, packing)

To have the courage to just pack up and go – that’s what I want. My good pal has now said her final goodbyes before she heads off for the sunny, sandy beaches of
Thailand for an unknown period. A sabbatical, she says.
I am, of course, incredibly jealous but also in awe of her ability to do something like this. She has no job and only the money she’s saved up in her past four years of work but she has no fear because she’ll be traveling, seeing the world and not having to endure the drudgery of a nine to five.
My rational side practically winces at such a whimsical plan but there’s another part of me that wonders whether I could be a bit more like that. See, I’m a worrier.
That’s what I do – I worry about stuff that don’t need worrying about. What about money? Job? Plans? What if something happens? Will everyone else be okay? How will I cope? Etc, etc, etc. Worry, worry, worry. Geez, I should change my name to Worry Hanks, not to be confused with Horry Wanks.
Sometimes I wish I had some of her carefree spirit – alas, I’m too much of an eldest sister to throw so much caution to the wind. But perhaps one day I’ll, too, embrace my inner wild child and head off to the wide open spaces with nothing but a plane ticket and a twinkle in my eye. Now that would be the life.

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Scarlet blood on their hands

April 27, 2007 at 3:27 pm (crime, frustrated, missing)

I wonder how they sleep at night. Surely, having blood on your hands is enough reason to keep one awake. I would certainly not be able to live myself if I were them.
A few days ago we got word one of our colleagues had died in a car crash. It was awful – she’d had the day off because it was her birthday and had lost control of her car before hurtling down on on-ramp off the N2.
But worse, was finding out she didn’t have a driver’s licence. How’s that possible, I asked. She had just bought the car a few months ago. Well, it turns out you don’t need a driver’s licence when you buy a car. For heaven’s sake, where is the logic in that??? You need a goddamn TV licence to buy a TV so how the hell can they sell someone a car without a friggin licence???!!! Those who sell and those who allow these sales are evil, gutless worms. Profit above life. The theme of our times, it seems.
Ok, needless to say, I’m a bit wound up about this. But jirrie, is there no way they can be held accountable? Yes, she was an adult who knew she should get one but, dammit, if she wasn’t allowed to buy that car because she wasn’t a legal driver, then she might still be alive today.
I don’t know how this piece of legislation has been allowed to slip under the radar. Surely it must be illegal, criminal even? It never even occurred to me that the law says it’s ok to do it. Shouldn’t we be doing something more about this? I want to petition. Watch this space.

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Separation

March 22, 2007 at 2:56 pm (longing, love, missing, poem, separation)

This is for a friend who is really missing her other half. It’s my absolute favourite poem in the world, followed closely by Robert E Frost’s The Road Less Travelled.

Mrs M, this is for you.

SEPARATION
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
– WS Merwin

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