South Africans are always up in arms about something, perpetually shouting our wants and needs at our politicians, who continue to treat us as children. How do we take control of our lives and our futures? It's clearly not enough for us to vote in order to make a change. We aren't uneducated half-wits who are oblivious to the issues that arise when running a country but we all know that they, the politicians and people in power, could serve us better.
I once had
much respect for Helen Zille and the DA till I tweeted her in March to voice my
concerns about the state of Hout Bay, which in my opinion is the bastard child
of Cape Town. She simply said "What is with Hout Bay? ... "Yho, one
complaint after another."
from politicians always seems to feel like begging. They need to keep in mind
that WE voted them into power; WE pay their salaries and fund their lifestyles,
not the other way around. It is their responsibility to do their utmost to
ensure we live in a clean and safe society.
So yes, I
will voice my objections, dammit, and you will hear me and you will respond,
politely, not exasperated, like I'm a child tugging at your skirts. We are not
'complaining', we are telling you where and what the problems are, we are
saying that we need this to change because our lives are becoming unbearable.
Hout Bay as an example because I believe it is a microcosm of South Africa. In
this small valley, we have rich people, extremely poor people, blacks, whites,
coloureds, Asians and Africans who have emigrated here, who live in flats,
mansions, shacks that drive laanie cars, cars that clearly aren't road worthy, public
transport and some even use trolley's as their mode of transport. We shop at
Woolworths, Checkers, Spar and markets. We eat out, we eat KFC and we eat pap.
The gaps between class, whether racial or not, are obvious.
We have one
informal settlement, Imizamo Yethu, to the west and to the south we have the flats
of Hangberg on the Sentinel, in between lie the expensive, gated communities of
the filthy rich. Hout Bay is where poverty and wealth collide.
that live in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu are living in a disgraceful state. The
streets are filthy, there is little or in some cases no waste management. There
is SHIT in the streets, lady. I’m pretty sure when you walk your dog down the street;
there isn’t human faeces beneath your feet. You are forcing locals off the
mountains, tearing down their shacks but not replacing them with homes.
And don’t tell
me you’ve tried to improve conditions because if you really made an effort this
mess would have been cleaned up. We wouldn’t be living looking over our
shoulders, manically safety conscious, terrified of savagery, people wouldn’t have
to resort to violence to survive.
Crime is so
rife in Hout Bay that it’s impossible to function as a free person. It doesn’t matter
what time of day it is, you will be attacked. Last month I witnessed a young
girl being beaten up by two men; her fingernails were bleeding from trying to
fight off her attackers. They wanted her cell phone. It was midday. The police,
who are so fuck-dumb, that when you call the Hout Bay police station and give
them directions to the scene of the crime, they don’t know where it is, or worse
they don’t even turn up. Our neighbours seem to be our only source of protection;
vigilantism is our saving grace here.
morning, just in Empire Street, which is considered to be a relatively safe
place to live, a car’s window is smashed, or it’s sitting on bricks because it’s
been rid of its tyres.
just the basics. I won’t even mention the insane escalation in house robberies,
rape and violence.
Hout Bay used
to be a beautiful place, a peaceful harbour town, if you took more interest in
it, it could be just as magnificent as Llandudno or Camps Bay (and maybe even
women could walk in the street without being accosted).
When we say
we need better trained policemen, we aren’t complaining, when we ask you to
assist the Rape Crisis from closing down, we are not complaining, when we say we
hate the class divide and we want all people to have the same living
conditions, we are not complaining, when we ask you ANYTHING, you should respond
with this answer;
for telling me about this problem, I’m going to do my utmost to sort it out.”
(And then deliver on your promises).