Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Why saffers ....why ?

www.news24.com
by Chris McEvoy Email · Print

Like most writers, I’m in two minds about reader feedback. On the one hand, I’m always interested to know what readers think of my work, and on the other, I want to find out where they live, knock on their door, and shoot them in the face.

joburg Joburg skyline. Note all the guns pointing skywards.

Now don’t take that the wrong way. My favourite section of any newspaper is the letters pages, and I believe one of the great advantages of the internet is its limitless potential for reply. But nothing challenges my commitment to defending our constitutional right to freedom of expression quite like the opinion of other South Africans.

I confess, it’s often a perverse attraction. Letters pages and comments boards grip me with all the morbid fascination of a road accident. What will the crazy, faceless people come up with this time? I ask myself excitedly as I scroll down to the comments. It’s like rubber-necking the aftermath of a head-on collision between Christopher Reeve and Stephen Hawking – sad and awful, but in a totally hilarious sort of way.

And it’s especially amusing when they get angry, as British motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson found out after writing a Sunday Times column on his latest visit to Johannesburg. SAfricans from all over the world were quick to tell Jeremy that he was obviously drunk or high on Durban Poison the whole time he was visiting, and that an ignorant idiot like him should shut his stupid mouth stick to writing about cars. Nasty!

Now you might be wondering what Clarkson could have said to raise the wrath of so many citizens. Did he say that Jozi was an ugly, smelly city, full of shallow, materialistic yuppies who judge each other by their collection of status symbols? Did he complain about the nouveau riche aesthetic, the vacuous shopping mall culture, the overpriced drugs or the fact that everything not covered in concrete is brown? Because if it were me, that’s totally what I would have written.

But no. Clarkson said none of these things. Actually, he seems to think it’s a great place to be. He writes: “I wanted to ring up those idiots who compile surveys of the best and worst places to live and say: “Why do you keep banging on about Vancouver, you idiots? Jo’burg’s way better.”

Clarkson steps over the mark when he comments on the one sensitive topic that’s guaranteed to get us South Africans fired up enough to murder anyone who happens to hold a contrary opinion: The Crime. And he says the most insulting thing imaginable. He says the crime isn’t nearly as bad as we pretend it is.

“Johannesburg is Milton Keynes with thunderstorms,” he writes. “You go out. You have a lovely ostrich. You drink some delicious wine and you walk back to your hotel, all warm and comfy. It’s the least frightening place on earth.”

To many South Africans, this is verbal abuse.

“Is Clarkson out of touch with reality, or is he being paid to lie?” writes one reader. “Jeremy, you ignoramus, you are desperately misinformed,” writes another.

This must be the only country in the world where we take offence when visitors say nice things about us.

Do we as a nation have such a low self esteem that we can’t accept a compliment when it’s thrown our way? Why do we feel compelled to act like an insecure fat girl crying in the bathroom on prom night, tearfully insisting everyone admits she’s as ugly as she thinks she is? These responses say far more about our psyche than our statistics and frankly, it’s a little embarrassing.

Confidence and a bit of pride will serve us well in 2010, so it might be a good idea to start cultivating that now. Oh, and when replying to people from English speaking countries, be sure to use a spell check. It’s only polite.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

This must be the only country in the world where we take offence when visitors say nice things about us.

well i agree with u there rooster
but i think we take offense as to the fact that we have been victims of crime our self i could have died and my dad has had friends shot dead mor than a few my best friendd in durbs had a gun put in his mouth my moms friend had guns out in daughters mouths my friends
domestic her son was shot dead and carjacked on pojnt road in durban and all this are very painfull storys

so when some oke says what crime
of course we get pissed off

The Rooster said...

That sounds awful and I sympathise. But the great majority of us have never had any such experience (I did , but it was in the philippines). What happens in the freakish few that have all tend to seek each other out and make a lot of noise giving the flse perception to people that this is common place. Before you know it you're giving offf this picure of South Africa that is unecessarily gloomy and absurd. As I said before , this is a perfectly safe place to live for a middle classed person who keeps their head about them. Beyind that is ofers an amazing lifes style. Yes as a whie here you're twice as likely to get murdered that in the united states for example (overall...in many states you're safer) but the chance of hat happening are still extremely low. Just keep your sanity about you , that's all I'm asking , or the monsters under the bed will rule your life.

Anonymous said...

What happens in the freakish few that have all tend to seek each other out and make a lot of noise giving the flse perception to people that this is common place.

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Look. SA is a great place and it's good what Clarkson has written. The problem is that Clarkson is basing his comments on "popping in for coffee" rather than living in Joburg. The guy is famous, and he is closely guarded and informed about stuff. His article is probably taking the piss a bit, because he makes Joburg seem like a safe haven, which is a little radical, to be honest.

Why is either completely safe or completely dangerous? It's neither. It's somewhere in the middle.

Your comment about "freakish few" is absurd. By using adjectives like that, and watering down 50 murders (and 100 rapes) per day, you're perpetuating a delusional utopia. South Africa is not utopia.

I know countless "middle class" people who've been affected by crime. The fact that you live in a safe suburb with your wealthy parents doesn't span across the millions around you.

SA is beautiful and it's my home and I'm here to stay. But I am saddened when people sweep the horror under the carpet.

Crime is very high, and it affects all of us. Accept that. Deal with it. And build a better SA.

Anonymous said...

As I said before , this is a perfectly safe place to live for a middle classed person who keeps their head about them.

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Using your logic, therefore, this is not a perfectly safe place to live for a low classed or high classed person. In other words, this is a dangerous place to live if you're poor or very rich. Considering SA's population is largely poor, SA, as a whole, can't be considered safe.

It's only safe in niche areas.

The Rooster said...

Crime is very high, and it affects all of us. Accept that. Deal with it. And build a better SA.

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It's moderately high. It doesn't and probably never will affect me. But I like your attitude and your "can do" attitude. I'll all in with you. If need be I'll be the last white man standing in this country. I love this fucking quirky place.

Anonymous said...

It's moderately high.

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With the current accepted list of countries with high crime rates, SA - with 18000 murders per year, alone - is near the top. (You can't make assumptions about the countries that aren't included, since you have no data to verify those assumptions.)

That makes SA "very high". Not "moderately".

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It doesn't and probably never will affect me.
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Famous last words...

Anonymous said...

If need be I'll be the last white man standing in this country. I love this fucking quirky place.

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The last few farmers in Zim, who've not yet had their farms taken, probably think the same as you.

Anonymous said...

oh dear, i share his morbid fascination for messageboards and comments :)

The Rooster said...

The last few farmers in Zim, who've not yet had their farms taken, probably think the same as you.

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I have family that still live there. They asure me that life for the middle class etc carries on as good as ever despite the media hype. Again why would you compare the richest country in africa with the poorest , the most democratic with the most autocratic ? Stupid.

The Rooster said...

With the current accepted list of countries with high crime rates, SA - with 18000 murders per year, alone - is near the top. (You can't make assumptions about the countries that aren't included, since you have no data to verify those assumptions.)



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It's 9th highest for murders if you don't count 80% of Africa. The good news is that's 22% lower than 1994 and 40% lower that 2002. Crime is decreasing....try keep up.

Anonymous said...

Hey DOOSter! You are like Clarkson - an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Why are we arguing about an opinion that was made by a foreigner during a brief visit to SA. We all know that SA is beautiful and if you can get in and out without any issues then sure, you are going to love the place. Fact is, high crime rates remains a problem for all South Africans.

A bit off topic, I read this somewhere: There is a conspiracy theory doing the rounds which suggests that COPE may actually help to entrench the ANC’s dominance. It goes something like this:

The idea for the formation of COPE was mooted by ANC strategists who realised that the election of Jacob Zuma as President of the ANC would alienate a key section of the ANC’s support base. The disaffected would include supporters of Thabo Mbeki and people who could not countenance supporting a presidential candidate with a cloud of corruption hanging over him.

Knowing that the ANC was likely to lose their support, COPE was formed (by the ANC) in a bid to find a home for disaffected former ANC voters. Once these voters had found this new home, they would be delivered back to the ANC in the form of an ANC/COPE coalition after the election. In other words, any votes lost by the ANC in the Mbeki/Zuma fallout would be recouped in this process. In this scenario, a vote for COPE would turn out to be a vote for Zuma.

Last week, COPE’s presidential candidate, Reverend Mvume Dandala, said that his party would not rule out a coalition with the ANC. His exact words were: “If the ANC were to commit itself to some of the values that we are going to put forward, particularly the need to overcome corruption in this country, we would not rule it out completely”.

Anonymous said...

I have family that still live there. They asure me that life for the middle class etc carries on as good as ever despite the media hype.

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Media hype? Actually, you shouldn't blame the media.

Blame colonialism. Or global warming.

I also have family and friends there. They say it's crap for middle class - it's crap for everyone.

---
It's 9th highest for murders if you don't count 80% of Africa. The good news is that's 22% lower than 1994 and 40% lower that 2002. Crime is decreasing....try keep up.

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Your spinning is amusing. You can't include 80% of Africa because 80% of Africa HAS NO stats, you fool. We also have no idea what crime is like in those countries, so you can't assume it's higher than SA. If it's lower than SA, then we'll REALLY look bad.

No. You must only work on accepted stats. SA is 9th, and that means crime is high. Not moderate. Not low. Not average.

But HIGH. 18000 murders a year is high, by ANY standard. By saying it's "moderately high" is disgusting and callous. What does it say about you as a person? Does it say that you're okay with a "moderate" level of crime at 18000 murders each year? What would "high" be, according to your standards? 30000 a year? 50000 a year?

That is sick.

The Rooster said...

Your spinning is amusing. You can't include 80% of Africa because 80% of Africa HAS NO stats, you fool. We also have no idea what crime is like in those countries, so you can't assume it's higher than SA. If it's lower than SA, then we'll REALLY look bad.

No. You must only work on accepted stats. SA is 9th, and that means crime is high. Not moderate. Not low. Not average.

But HIGH. 18000 murders a year is high, by ANY standard. By saying it's "moderately high" is disgusting and callous. What does it say about you as a person? Does it say that you're okay with a "moderate" level of crime at 18000 murders each year? What would "high" be, according to your standards? 30000 a year? 50000 a year?

That is sick.

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Oh keep the fucking dummy in you mouth. How ever high crime is here it's not nearly as bad as most white south africans , especially expats on the internet make it out to be. That is and remains my very simple and obviously true point. Do you stand a good chance of being murdered ? No , not even remotely anything close to a good chance. There is a freakishly small chance ...11 in 100 000 that it could be you. You can emmigrate on the bounds of a 10 000 to 1 chance of something happening to you. You're more than 3000 times more likely to get cancer in your 20's than be murdered. Is that going to stop you living your life and make you spend your every moment fixating and worrying and writing about it on every message board like some of these losers who haunt my website and others ?

Anonymous said...

Hey. Rooster. You're sidelining, baby.

Stick to the topic, please. No straw man arguments from the peanut gallery will be tolerated.

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"Oh keep the fucking dummy in you mouth. How ever high crime is here it's not nearly as bad as most white south africans , especially expats on the internet make it out to be. "
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Have you got a chip on your shoulder? Who said anything about that? You're being taken to task for stating "moderately high". Stop going off on a tangent like a typical woman.

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"Do you stand a good chance of being murdered ? No , not even remotely anything close to a good chance. There is a freakishly small chance ...11 in 100 000 that it could be you. You can emmigrate on the bounds of a 10 000 to 1 chance bla bla bla bla usual Rooster stats mantra bla bla bla bla bla yawn yawn bla bla"
----

Again, who said anything about all of that? The comment was that crime is HIGH - not MODERATELY HIGH. And your only form of defence is to create sidelined straw man arguments and create stereotypical scenarios that is old and boring.

You really don't know how to debate, do you?

Anonymous said...

hahaha rooster was pwned.

Anonymous said...

i know alot of black africans living in aus some of them are from kenya and ghana and zim and they all say crime is sa is insanely high and very violent they are even scared to step foot in sa unless they have t o

The Rooster said...

i know alot of black africans living in aus some of them are from kenya and ghana and zim and they all say crime is sa is insanely high and very violent they are even scared to step foot in sa unless they have t o

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I'm not surprised they THINK South Africa is dangerous. Isn't that the point ? These fools running around screaming blue murder are doing their very best to make sure everyone thinks this. Few live in South Africa or have even been here the past 5-10 years and go insane at the idea of the country suceeding. They normally are very bitter to be suffering it out in their new countries and come around the net etc to vent about bullshit. That poeople wrongly feel that South Africa is so dangerous is the whole fucking point you twat !

Grumbleguts said...

Someone with a voice of authority has finally come out and told it like it really is:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1165473/He-wives-faced-783-counts-corruption-PETER-HITCHENS-South-Africas-president.html