OK, so I have something else to say about Africa.
I lived in Zambia – beautiful country, beautiful climate – and I was a happy child. I could walk to the swimming pool with my sister and younger brother. Crime wasn’t an issue. At the age of ten I was in love with life until one of my school friends was murdered in a neighbouring country.
Her death still haunts me in the dark recesses of my mind even after some twenty five years.
My family then moved further south to Rhodesia – as it used to be called – another beautiful country. It had everything until the Rhodesian War. And then, all hell broke loose. We could hear the sound of gunfire outside our classrooms, and at an early age we were taught how to “hit the ground”. Politically I knew nothing. All I did know was that my peaceful life was slowly been pulled apart. My friends were being murdered right on my doorstep. My younger brother was pulled away from school as soon as he was old enough and had to learn how to kill before he was legally allowed to drink alcohol. Later, he narrowly cheated death but his injuries still plague him to this day.
That was war and war is not considered a crime – depending on which side wins. No, crime was to end my innocence only when I finally left Rhodesia and moved to South Africa. However, South Africa was the one place which petrified me as a young girl following the murder of my friend so many years before.
In later years, after apartheid was banished and the “Rainbow Nation” was born, corruption and crime began to increase quickly and unchecked. Apartheid had been beaten and the countries of the World were congratulating themselves. However, South Africa was no longer “Front Page News” and the World didn’t actually care what was going to happen in Africa anyway. If it is not front page news the politicians cannot win votes or score points and so life in South Africa was allowed to fade into obscurity.
In the years to come, a women couldn’t drive the same route to work every day for fear of being hijacked, or attacked or both. You never went to the city for fear of being forced off the pavement or physically abused.
For safety, vast shopping malls with their own car parks and security; better known as trusted car guards sprung up in the suburbs while the city centres were left, strangled soon to become un-kept slums.
My daughter was attacked. My house broken into on four accessions in a space a couple of months. My husband was almost mugged at a cash machine outside a bank.
Such is life now that the Rainbow Nation has lost its sheen and the World has lost its interest.
The only ray of light for me was the fact that the man who murdered my little school friend, was arrested for her murder, after twenty five years. His arrest was due to a drunken boast made at a drinking hall in earshot of an off-duty policeman who remembered the case.
Perhaps, there is justice in this world after all. But, not for those who are left behind …….