Thursday, March 20, 2008


So I came to South Africa “unprepared.” I didn’t study on it, read on it beyond what I already knew. Haley and Jeannie came more prepared, and it’s good to be like them (don’t be like me). David and Adrianne read Mandela’s book. I just came. So people are the ones (not South Africans) who tell me that I’m going to die or catch AIDS or someone will rob me at knife point or gunpoint.

My neighborhood is special. When Jeannie and Haley just arrived and Rosa came from Grahamstown, the three of them stayed at my place. I didn’t have the nerve to tell them that my corner neighborhood store was robbed at knifepoint (can you say that) in broad daylight at 4 in the afternoon. Anna asked me today which neighborhood street I use to walk to the busy road with all the taxis. I said Rosedon. She said don’t take it because her friend Neil was robbed at gunpoint at the end of the street (the same place I walk to before taking the steps up to the road) at a dead-end. Neil also carries a laptop bag when walking. The other day I passed by a block of flat in which I was considering living. I probably would have done so if I had somehow missed the real estate agent. Well, there was a shooting outside of it, and it’s a good neighborhood, too.

So, it’s everywhere, and it’s anytime of the day. But to be honest, nothing has happened to me. And I have met people who have not experienced anything their entire life. Let’s face it, it’s still one of the most dangerous countries in the world. And Joburg and CT are two of the most dangerous cities in the world (with Joburg being moreso than CT), but, Victor, does it FEEL like it?

That’s the weird thing, I don’t feel it. Yes, I pass by people who walk really close to me or have their hand in their pocket or turn down my street after seeing me, and my heart beats faster and I get prepared. But it’s only because what I have been told. It’s actually not natural for me to think those things (or it hasn’t been my experience). But it’s been input into me, so I feel that when I pass by people at the wrong time of night.

What I’m saying is that they crime rate and the way foreigners talk suggest that many of those people should have done something to me. But I don’t experience the crime rate by incidents that happen to me. The only thing I notice DIFFERENT in how I experience or “feel” the crime rate is the number of times I hear of a friend whose car is stolen or broken into. I was trying to describe what it’s like to Jeannie so that you understand. The closest thing I can think of is the amount of times someone might say to you “I have a dentist appointment.” That’s probably as often I hear of something happening to someone’s car. Carjacking is very common. I can perceive that. Otherwise, it’s hard for me to perceive or experience.

1 comment:

Jane said...

nothing happens to you because you are covered by the blood of jesus