Cape Town – arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This is my home. This is a city I love.
But it’s with a sad heart that I write this post. So many terrible and shocking things have happened here in the past few weeks. The crime and violence against women, in particular, has reached such a terrible peak. Two incidents have especially highlighted this: A 15-year old girl was raped and murdered while out jogging in Tokai forest, while another teenager was raped and murdered and her naked body found in the public toilets of Kayelitsha. Similarly, a young women was raped and held captive in Newlands forest. This after a string of rapes and reported acts of sexual assault against UCT students near Rhodes Memorial.
The places where these crimes have taken place are all areas that IP and I, as avid hikers, have enjoyed visiting over the years, and we regularly have taken our dog, and even our little girls, walking in these forests and on the mountain side. But now, we live in fear of going there.
How can we call Cape Town a beautiful city, when it has been tarnished by such ugliness? What is the point saying we live in an amazing city, when we are increasingly being denied the ability to enjoy the beauty around us due to the violence and crime taking hold? It is so sad that this violence has tarnished it. But, it’s also sad that this is a reflection of our society in general. A society that lives in fear – fear of violence, fear of crime, fear of hijacking, fear of other people. We live behind high walls and security gates. Yet even these are not a deterrence – just last night thieves lifted the front gate of our complex right off its hinges (an extremely heavy, massive gate, I might add!) and stole our neighbour’s car.
How do we sleep at night knowing such things are happening right in the very place where we should feel most safe – our home? How do we raise two girls to feel safe and secure in such a violent and careless society? How do we live a normal life in a country that doesn’t even blink when its very own president is a thief and liar? These are serious questions that IP and I have been asking ourselves, and we as parents need to make some important decisions about our future in this city, and indeed this country. We know the grass is not always greener on the other side of the pond, but, from where we’re sitting, it sure looks a hell of a lot safer!