Living in South Africa

My Kiwi sister-in-law asked me a few days ago, “aren’t you afraid to still live in South Africa? The rate of crime and especially violent crime is so terribly high.”

To be honest, it’s not something that’s in the forefront of my mind everyday like some malevolant toad but after some thought, let me say this:-

~Yes, we have crime.

~Yes, we have have a comparatively high percentage of violent crime.

~ Am I afraid to live – not in the slightest. I am, however, very aware of my surroundings – where I am and who’s around me. I am vigilant but not to the point of paranoia.

~Yes, my home is secured against intrusion (as best possible). No, we dont have attack dogs!

~ Yes, I would love to be able to go for a walk at night and not lock my doors but the phrase “asking for trouble” is not one I want to get used to.

~ We live on a continent that is rife with political upheaval, poverty, corruption and unemployment: all manner of people plagues yet the people are also the life blood and the hope.

~ Don’t ignore, but look beyond the ugliness to the citizens that are inexorably bound to this topsy, turvy land. Mostly good, mostly hard-working, struggling to survive in a fragile economy. The concept of ubuntu still has meaning.

~Is living in South Africa easy ? – No

~ Is living in South Africa worth the trouble ? – Oh yes, every day.


One of our country’s celebrated author’s Alan Paton penned a marvellous book “Cry, the beloved country” – a highschool set work for many of my generation. It’s a superb piece brimming with anecodotes and memorable quotes. One that has stuck with me over the years and has vague relevance to my ramblings today goes like this:-

“Sorrow is better than fear. Fear is a journey, a terrible journey. But, sorrow is at least an arriving. ”
Alan Paton