What is your life worth in South Africa?

In June 2017, a man by the name of Brent Kruger was caught in the cross fire in Atlantis Cape Town and suffered 3 gunshot wounds before crashing into a wall and dying from his injuries at 32 years old. There have been countless men, women and children before him who have lost their lives in senseless killings, whether random or intentional.

Gang violence and the effects thereof have been an ongoing problem in the Cape Flats and slowly spreading to other areas in Cape Town. Areas previously known as ‘safe’ or ‘quiet’ are now areas where people have to stay indoors as much as possible, for fear of being robbed or murdered.

And yet life goes on.

We see their names in the paper, we read about their deaths online, in print media, or hear about it on a television broadcast. These nameless faceless human beings are losing their lives everyday and nothing is done.

I ask my fellow coloured people…what is happening to our people?

What is happening in our communities that young men feel the need to pick up guns and join a life of crime? What is happening to our young women who are still experiencing alarming rates of teen pregnancy?

Our people are dying.

We are killing each other.

Coloured people don’t need to fear disease or police brutality, coloured people practice fear of their own race. Daily.

Why is this happening? How long will it continue to happen before someone does anything?

Do coloured people not matter?

I am not one to pull the race card. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have no racial prejudice. But I have to ask, what is a coloured life worth in South Africa?

Franziska Bl√∂chliger was brutally raped and murdered, her killer was swiftly brought to justice. She deserved that justice, although it won’t bring her back to her family, they got justice. Closure.

Many men and women of colour are murdered every day…where is their justice? Where is the public outrage for their lives being taken too soon?

Where is it? Did I miss it?

Where is the media coverage for all the coloured men, women and children who lose their lives daily? Where is it? Is it that everyone has become so desensitized to this violence that no one is really conscious of the fact that it isn’t just NEWS, or a BODY COUNT in the morgue, these are actual PEOPLE that are dying.

Brent Kruger leaves behind a wife, 3 daughters, a sister and his mother. Not to mention the extended family and countless friends in his community who all mourn his death. Three young girls have to navigate this world without their father. Three girls…who will turn into women, will never have their father walk them down the aisle.¬†

And what are we doing about it? What is Law Enforcement doing about it? What is the government doing about it?

Everyday people of colour of being gunned down, stabbed, brutally murdered…and what are we doing about it?

It’s taken me a long time to write this blog post. I’ve been angry. I’ve been RAGING with anger. Because these are my people. And regardless of them being ‘my’ people, they are people. They are human beings with dreams and goals and families. And they have no voice. They do not get justice.

Our court systems are over run. Our jails are over crowded. Our police force is over worked. And then steps in the criminal. Easy pickings. Case file goes missing. Evidence goes missing. Witnesses get murdered or intimidated to the point that they recant their statement.

A man who steals may get up to 10 years in prison. A man who rapes and murders however…pretty good chance he might just get a suspended sentence.

An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind but how are we to deter this type of behaviour if there aren’t harsher sentences for taking someone’s life?

Our children suffer the most. And this is where the cycle continues. Children are losing their parents to gangs, whether joining a gang or being killed by one. These children left to fend for themselves have few options, and so turn to a life of crime to sustain themselves. No education, no support, no guidance.

And the cycle continues.

We need help.

Why hasn’t the Western Cape been declared a disaster zone yet? Why aren’t more active steps being taken to protect the innocent?

Because…maybe we need to decrease our melatonin levels in order to receive some kind of assistance???

I pray that good people in these communities stand together and make their voices heard. Keep your children safe. Educate your children on the dangers around them. Speak to your sons. Show them there is a life outside of violence that is worth living. Invest as much time in your children as you can, try and safeguard them from the pitfalls of continuing the cycle.

It saddens me that our fallen brothers and sisters will only be remembered as their families speak of them fondly, but hopefully by the time their kids have children of their own, this senseless violence would have come to an end.

Save our people.

Save coloured people.

Save black people.

Save our children.

Protect our children.

Be the change.

Brent and Family

Cape Town 2017.06.22 Brent Kruger and his wife Renei on Mother’s Day this year with daughter Cassidy and niece Ava Cerf

 

 

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Things I wish my father knew…

If you haven’t been following my blog then have a look at my family situation before reading this post if you have time. If not, I’m sure you will catch up soon enough.

My father was hospitalized for something minor a few weeks back and this prompted loads of inner turmoil on my end. Unlike the situation with my mother I haven’t officially written off my father, but I never see him. Because he is so involved in his own life and taking care of my half brother which he made with a woman that is roughly the same age as me.

Yes. Sounds a bit like a far fetched dramatic soap opera but sadly it’s all true. Even the story about her slashing his tyres and burning his clothes.

After I ended the call with my gran and told my husband the story, he immediately asked if I wanted to go through to the hospital and honestly my gut answer was no.

My father has been a part of my life from the very beginning but essentially he is a stranger to me. Or actually, more accurately, I am a stranger to him. I didn’t turn out the way he expected and I’m pretty sure he is highly disappointed. I am not religious. I didn’t marry the man he expected me to. And I am not good for his public image.

My father is known in psychology textbooks as an ‘enabler‘.

I lived with an abusive mother and a father that enabled her to abuse me.

And yet my father does not see the part he played.

He not only enabled her bad behaviour but also enforced his own brand of abuse. Namely shaming on the basis of religion and gender stereotyping.

As long as I didn’t attend his church…I was going to hell.

As long as I was a daughter I would never have the same amount of respect that a son would automatically earn.

I am not able to have an honest adult conversation with my father, because everything always comes back to religion (which I am not against, but not involved in). But there are so many things I wish I could tell him, if only he would listen.

I wish he knew how I longed for him to take me away from my abusive mother. I wish he knew what a difference it would’ve made in my life to have someone in my corner. I wish he knew how hard it was for me when I finally realized that he too was part of the problem. I felt like an instant orphan in that moment. I wish he knew that there are many times I wish to talk to him honestly and open but every single time I do, I get shot down with a Bible verse and a back handed comment because owning up to the truth is just too much for him.

I wish my father knew the gravity of his actions. And while people (myself included) will argue that he is aware, a big part of me knows that he is so self involved that the abuse was a by-product of that and not the actual intention. I wish he knew how long I waited for him to change. I wish he knew how I PRAYED for him to change. I wish he knew how having BOTH your parents abuse you feels to a child.

I wish my father knew my daughter. She is the most amazing, soft hearted, funny and gentle soul. I wish my father could step outside his closed minded way of thinking for one second and see the child he helped create for who she really is.

I have had a deep raging anger towards my father for many years. At this point my defense mechanism is in over drive and to spare myself from any further heart ache…I feel nothing. But a longing for what could’ve been.

I wish I had a dad that knew what my favourite meal is. I wish I had a dad that knew I love to sing and dance when I’m home alone cleaning the house. I wish I had a dad that could sit around a fire and tell people warm funny stories about my youth. I wish I had a dad to call when times are rough and I just need someone to say “come over, I will take care of you”.

For the most part I get along fine without either parent, but the hard times and the dark times often bring out the sense of longing. And I envy my adult counterparts during this time. Wish I had a dad to call when I have an emergency…sadly not.

I wish my dad knew and understood that the minimal contact between us isn’t because I’m ‘punishing’ him or because I hate him. The silence is because I was neglected and abandoned and so learnt to live without him.

If your knee-jerk response is ‘why not call your dad?’ then you know nothing about paternal abuse. I know who my audience is. And my heart goes out to each and every one of you. You might feel alone but here is this blog to show you that there are others. And we are here, carrying the same silent burden that you are.

I share these words here because I know someone reading this can relate. I’m sharing this to put it out in the universe with the hope that some good will come of it.