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 Blöchliger 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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NINETEEN

We are 5months into the year and so much has happened. Justin Bieber came to town, water shortages in Cape Town have forced people to be creative with how they save and reuse water…the natural hair movement is growing in leaps and bounds and…what was the other thing???

Oh yes!

Nineteen children have been murdered in the Western Cape since January 2017.

Let that sink in.

Nineteen innocent souls, who didn’t ask to be here were murdered before they even got the chance to live.

You think abortion is wrong? Inhumane? Murder? Ah yes, let’s fight for the rights of the fetus. And yet no one is addressing the elephant in the room. Which is the fact that no effort has been put into keeping the children that are already here, safe.

So many children living in poverty. So many children being abused. Children living on the streets. Children starving. Children dying of preventable diseases. Children being sexually assaulted. And what has been done? What punishments do these perpetrators get if and when they are eventually apprehended?

Just in case you want to do that thing where you just read this and file it under ‘statistics’, let me break it down for you. Here are just a few of the stories, of ACTUAL HUMAN LIVES being ended in a brutal manner.

  • 4 year old Iyapha Yamile. Murdered.
  • 14 month old Lindokuhle Kota. Murdered.
  • 13 year old Rene Roman. Murdered.
  • 11 year old Stacha Arendse. Murdered.
  • 3 year old Courtney Pieters. Murdered.
  • 3 year old twins. Murdered.
  • 15 year old boy. Murdered.
  • 17 year old boy. Murdered.

These are not statistics. These are our people. Our children. And no one is doing a damn thing about it.

While the world is populated with a lot of sick individuals who prey on innocent souls as their victims…something needs to be said. Children do not operate independently. They cannot and should not be allowed to do certain things without adult supervision. And while there is such an outcry about how ‘unfair’ it is that ‘kids cant be kids’ anymore by playing in the street…the question that concerns me is…are parents not parents anymore?

I was born in 1985. To give you some context. Before all the kidnappings and murders and increased high-jacking’s and house burglaries. Can I recall a time where I was allowed anywhere without my parents? No. I cannot. If I stepped even a meter away from my father in a shopping mall I would feel his wrath. Did I think my parents were insane at the time? Yes. Do I think they are insane now? Hell no.

And before you comment on this post angrily and accuse me of being insensitive, I do not claim to know the individual circumstance of each family of these murdered children. I am not sitting on my soapbox pretending to be the perfect parent. My only question is, when will society step up in the masses and 1.understand that the world has changed and 2. Do something about it. There is power in numbers. The same people who helped search for Courtney Pieters could’ve offered the mother their help in looking after her. Surely the mom with no job could offer her assistance while the other working moms go to work? Surely we need to realize that parenting is a team effort. It takes a village remember?

But our villages do not listen. Our villages do not take heed. How many more innocent children need to die before people start being more vigilant? Instead of wanting the noisy kids to play outside while you enjoy some peace, go sit on the stoep and WATCH THEM.

10 yr old girl last seen walking to the shop….a mere two weeks after a 13 yr old went missing…

Why are parents gambling with their children’s lives.

While you sit and fight for your rights to the ‘good old days’ where children were safe outside, our children are dying.

While you blame the government…our children are dying.

Yes the government should impose harsher sentences for offenders but the onus is on you to protect your child BEFORE the crime occurs.

My heart aches for every parent who has to bury a child. My heart aches for the parent who has to read the results of the postmortem and accept the gruesome details of how their child died.

But my heart is also filled with rage.

My heart cries for the innocent souls who couldn’t protect themselves. My heart is enraged that our communities still haven’t woken up.

19 children is 19 too many.

And to place your trust in someone because they belong to a church or borrowed you money or gave you a packet of smokes…awareness is half of the solution. Murderers, rapists…they don’t LOOK evil. They blend in. They stand next to you in church, in Pick n Pay, at school, at work. They blend in and take advantage of your kindness, or offer their kindness and fool you.

While you can’t live in seclusion, you can protect yourself and your family. My daughter is 4 years old and every two weeks on rotation we have these chats:

  • No one must touch your privates. Not even your friends at school.
  • You mustn’t touch anyone else’s privates.
  • If someone asks to see your privates or show you their privates shout no and tell a grown up.
  • Don’t talk to strangers. Even if they offer you sweets. Only take sweets from mommy, daddy and granny. Because sweets from strangers can be poison.
  • Don’t keep secrets from mommy and daddy. There are good secrets such as surprises and birthdays and their are bad secrets. Never keep a bad secret.

It kills me that my child has to grow up before her time but I will be damned if my child becomes a statistic. I don’t say this to prove that I am the perfect parent. I say this because I have accepted the reality of this world. And I want to empower my child instead of falsely trying to shield her from the evil that has overcome humanity.

I stumbled across an article about a man who had killed his ex girlfriend…and in doing so discovered an entire blog called Counting the Women dedicated to documenting the slain women and children at the hands of not only strangers but their partners as well.

An entire blog…keeping record of murdered women and children…

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

19 lives gone.

I hope that we can do something before the next 19.