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Posts Tagged ‘south africa’

“You strike a woman, you strike a rock” – the famous quote from the 1956 women’s march on the Union Buildings.

Apparently, many took that quote to mean you can therefore strike a woman over and over again.

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Most of us are familiar with the common adage: “Ignorance is bliss”. And while this might apply to some circumstances, in others, ignorance could be the very thing creating some of the world’s most pertinent issues.

This is why I think it’s nothing short of a tragedy that SA’s education is in the state it is.

I was lucky enough to go to a pre-school, then a private school, and then a university. Working in the media, I have also been exposed to a range of issues and opinions. But the vast majority of the South African population is not this privileged.

Schools continue to go without teachers and basic supplies such as textbooks, paper to write on or even desks. Many cannot even afford the uniform required for them to attend school.

In fact, poverty is so dire in our society, that simple things such as a girl’s menstrual cycle is enough to keep them from going to school, because they cannot afford sanitary wear.

When researching for a story I published on the lack of affordability of SA tertiary education, I realised just how few South Africans achieve high school education, let alone higher education.

We have a nation in which many young people are ignorant regarding sexual education. With many of our government schools unable to teach learners about health and sexuality, how can we expect the HIV and Aids epidemic to stop, or the rise in teenage pregnancies?

Without education regarding human rights, many go without knowing what they, as a human, are entitled to. A more sinister product of this is that many don’t understand what their fellow humans are entitled to. Even in university some are ignorant about what rape is, with some not believing in marital or male rape at the hands of a woman.

And while SA allocates a larger portion of its budget to education than other countries, it is simply not enough. I refuse to believe we simply do not have the funding when so many government officials live in mansions and drive cars whose cost could fund the entire school career fees for numerous students.

With a skills gap, our economy suffers. We need better education.

With lack of health and sexual education, our bodies suffer. We need better education.

With lack of education, our minds suffer. We need better education.

But with our government, millions of South Africans continue so suffer. When will we get better education?

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As a student journalist, I am aware of the media’s failings to cover certain important issues with consistency. I have created a timeline using Dipity, tracking news reports and other media regarding the issue of rape in South Africa. This timeline includes all forms of rape including corrective rape, child rape and male rape. It is my hope that it will help us become more aware of what is happening in South Africa.

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Social networks and news sites were taken by storm this week when the story of a gang rape video went viral. People expressed disgust, shock and concern about South African society.

However, the reality is that while this incident caught international attention, rape and gang rape occurs on a daily basis in South Africa. Some were shocked at the fact that people watched the video, and while I, too, find this disturbing, the truth is that many people have a morbid fascination with taboo and violence. Many of us are unsettled by pictures of the Holocaust and Vietnam, and news media often spreads scenes of violence to shock their viewers.

We are fascinated by what is shocking, but I feel that it goes deeper than this. What I found most disturbing is that the rapists felt the need to record and distribute the girl’s pain and terror for the world to see. It’s reported they laughed at her and taunted her, offering her R2 for her silence. The thought of this scene makes me nauseous, but it also brings to the fore that this is happening– unrecorded and unheard of – to countless others.

I think that once this case is over and the perpetrators have been prosecuted, the issue will slip under the radar once again, only to be dug up again in the occasional feature on the prevalence of rape in our country or for an exceptionally shocking or violent case.

What saddens me most is that these incidents are nowhere close to ending. It is no coincidence that South Africa is both the most unequal society in the world and also considered the rape capital of the world. While it is inexcusable to rape anyone, poverty plays a massive role in violent crime.

People are forced to live in terrible conditions on a mass scale where a cycle of violence, cruelty and anger is perpetuated and alcohol and drugs are used as an escape. Rape is often about power, and in a patriarchal society women and children (and men who are perceived as ‘weaker’) bear the brunt of this anger and frustration.

This is where I look to the government in anger – because of corruption and fiscal irresponsibility; people continue to live in poverty. The government doesn’t do much to dispel myths in rape culture either. Remember Malema’s comment about rape? “When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money.”

With ideas like this being spouted by those whom we are supposed to respect and follow, is it so shocking that therapists in the video taunted the girl with an offer of R2 for her silence? If we want to see a real change in South African society, our government needs to fulfil its promises and help alleviate the poverty which perpetuates crimes like these, so that these horrific scenes no longer constitute ‘just another day’ in South Africa.

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Is it just me or are Jacob Zuma’s latest actions dodgier than a guy in a van luring kids with candy? So many feared his election as president, including the DA who launched their ‘Stop Zuma’ campaign.
But then Zuma surprised us all – he wasn’t all that bad. That said, South Africans have kind of gotten used to a government which places Mercedes and BMWs over feeding poor.

But now it just seems like Zuma’s corruption has just been hibernating or a while – getting reading for the grand act. Maybe people are really starting to take nonsense as there seems to be consensus to just ignore Malema in hopes that he will just go away.

First there was the proposal of the Protection of State Information Bill. While many panicked and protested, for good reason, I chose to instead relax and trust the Constitutional Court to do away with the Bill. After studying Media Law and Ethics, I knew they understood the importance of a free press in sustaining and stimulating democracy.

When Mogoeng Mogeong was annouced Chief Justice, I, among many other South Africans, knew something was going on.
Mogeong Mogeong’s appointment made about as much sense as a KKK member leading a civil rights rally.

Unless of course, you’re a political leader who wants an unconstitutional bill passed and therefore it helps to have a buddy in the ConCourt.

While I was in disgust of Zuma’s flagrant disregard for democracy and justice, I still felt comfort in the fact that the rest of the ConCourt judges were far less….what’s the word? Oh yes, idiotic and bigotted.

I later noticed when Simlane’s appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutors (NDP) was all over the news, having being ruled unconstitutional. This is because Zuma appointed him without going through proper procedure – i.e. Zuma really wanted him there and was willing to break rules to get him there.

Our dear Mr. President seems to want to get the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on a leash. After all, it was them who came after him with charges of corruption before the ousting of Mbeki and Zuma’s election as ANC President. Might I add he was never found innocent or guilty – the charges were dropped because of Mbeki’s interference.
Now that Zuma suddenly wants more control over the NPA, his innocence of corruption is looking more unlikely.
Just when I thought Zuma would give up – after all the media and the law caught him out with Simelane’s appointment – he makes the statement that the ConCourt’s powers should be revised.

While I could go into an entire rant about the importance of the ConCourt’s independence, I will simply state that Zuma is trying to revert power back into Parliament’s hands – which was the structure of power during apartheid.
Therefore, Zuma does not want the world’s most progressive Constitution to be the final law of our country. Rather, he wants his government to have increased power. That way, when the Information Act comes knocking, Zuma and his puppets will push it through despite what the ConCourt and SA citizens say.

South African government is in severe need of an overhaul. Politicians who vouch for their interest in ending poverty build R16million houses. Those who claim to represent the people choose to represent their own financial interest. Tenders aren’t about who will benefit from them and do the right job, but who has friends in the right places.
South Africa’s poor live in conditions unheard of in the First World. Our people die in poverty, and many who survive, are subjected to the evils of poverty – crime, sexual assault and violence. Immigrants who seek refuge are attacked and killed because the government isn’t providing our citizens with employment, and their rage is taken out on innocents.

Unless there is a drastic change in our leadership, South Africa’s rich will get richer, and our poor will be subjected to conditions which should warrant as crimes against humanity. While it seems to be a sensationalist statement, how do other crimes against humanity differ from what SA’s poorest face other than it is through neglect rather than direct force that these people are deprived of food and clean water, left unprotected from murder and rape, as well as having to watch their children and those around them die through lack of healthcare?

The answer is: nothing.

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