The local media has certainly been having a field day with the recent murder of a foreign tourist, Anni Dewani in South Africa. Wonkie would like to sincerely pay respect to Anni Dewani and her family – may she rest in peace. This article however is not about the murder, the countless conspiracy theories around it, the arrests, the impending identity parade, or how very sad Bheki Cele is about it. It is about the sickening attention this single instance of crime is being given in South Africa.
Wonkie can certainly understand the European media blowing this incident out of proportion – it is relevant to them. A Swedish citizen was killed in a known crime hotspot. That’s newsworthy. But to read headlines day after day in South Africa about one murder is rather irritating and disrespectful. Please do not get Wonkie wrong – the murder of Anni Dewani is sad. But so were the murders of the other 690+ individuals that were killed in Gugulethu alone since 2005. Besides the immediate friends and family of those others murdered there, how many South Africans know their names? How many of those murders made headline news? Did Bheki Cele or any other government official go around publically pining about how sad, miserable and distressed they were about those other murders? Or are the lives of the poor and the black in this country really that worthless?
What disturbs Wonkie about this is the callous disregard for the value of life in South Africa – not only by its criminals but also by its media and worse yet, so many of its citizens. The South African public appears to be happy to gobble up news about a pretty foreigner killed in a local township. Journalists are happy to investigate the matter thoroughly and take pains to outline the intricacies of a murder that quite frankly could have been avoided by using an inkling of common-sense – yes, do not step out of your vehicle in the Kruger Park to take photos of the pretty kitty cats and yes, do not decide to explore Gugs,a known high-risk area, in the middle of the night.
It’s all the more interesting because Anni’s millionaire husband Shrien Dewani survived the ordeal and has now allegedly hired a publicist to help quash conspiracy theories around the incident. So what’s the deeper message here – that if you’re a rich and/ or beautiful tourist your death is significantly more worthy of attention than the hundreds of South Africans whose murders simply aren’t interesting enough? Hmmm… yes, Wonkie thinks that is exactly the message.
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