Thursday, 13 October 2011

Common Thread


There I was, after quite a tough day at work, furiously sweeping the dust and leaves from the stoep, my muscles all in a rage.
The reason? 16 year old Louise de Waal was abducted at gunpoint, probably raped, and her body burned beyond recognition in a fire at a farm in Muldersdrift yesterday. I was sweeping for her. Also for 8 year old Zikhona Qhayi who was likewise raped and murdered in Khayelitsha yesterday.
The first case was headline news for two days; the second barely cracked a page mention, since Louise was White and Zikhona was not.
The tendency of this particular sub-culture to fetishise the victims when they belong to the White race is pretty overwhelming - a pointer that South Africa has not come all that far, really, in the last few years.

We seem to be living within a torrent of violent acts of the utmost depravity. Acts which both boggle the mind and turn the stomach, even as we avidly devour the details, and the press take pictures of the grieving and traumatised families. What is driving this escalation of crimes of total brutality? Could Derrick Jensen be correct when he holds that this civilisation is in fact insane? I think he is right on the money, and also that it's getting worse.
But our conversation revolves, in Joburg, around childish finger-pointing on the subject of the perpetrators' race-some of the comments in News 24 are particularly puerile - or braying demands for the return of the death penalty.

As much as I long to see such men dead, I have grave misgivings about the death penalty - not the least of them being would you really want to hand this inept government the power to kill its citizens?

We are not addressing the causes, and this will ensure that nothing is done to stem the flow of childrens' blood. Rather than asking what is causing these men to crack, we bay for their blood, in turn. Humans; I really don't understand you at all sometimes.

But among all the noise about White perpetrators and Black perpetrators, among all the accusations of barbarity and lack of civilisation (really?), most of us are totally ignoring the one rock-solid factor which ties both these young women's death together , and that is that both the deranged offenders are male.

Horrible pic: Louise de Waal's mother and grandmother, snapped by the press