I Wore Black Today




But not for Jacob Zuma.

I wore black for other reasons.  I wore it because I feel anger, disappointment and most of all fear.

Our once beautiful country lies in near ruins, downgraded today to Junk Status.  The words “Junk Status” saddens me immensely.  It seems to fit what is happening to this beautiful land of ours.

I wore black today because I am angry.  Angry at the fact that our school system is failing our children.

South Africa had an excellent education system, one of the highest in the world!  Our doctors were sought after all over the world.  Medical professionals were sent to our hospitals to learn.  Today, South Africa has one of the worst levels of education in the world. In a report by The Economist it was stated that South Africa ranked 75th out of 76 in the world.  This was in a ranking table of education systems compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2015.

Unbelievably, South Africa’s school results were worse than even poorer countries in other parts of Africa!

I wore black today because I am angry that South Africa has an extremely high crime and murder rate.  We have an average of 40 murders a day.  Our farmers are attacked and killed at an alarming rate.  Since 1990, 3393 farm attacks were reported, with 1824 murders.  South Africans are being murdered for a cell phone, a watch, a pair of shoes, or simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am angry because our beautiful country has one of the highest rates of rapes in the world.  40% of women will be raped in their lifetime.  Our nation’s babies, barely out of their mother’s wombs, are being raped.  Our children are taken from us, raped, murdered and thrown away to die under a bush somewhere.

I am angry that my children can no longer play outside at will.  That they can’t walk to the shop to buy an ice cream.  That they can’t cycle to a friend’s house.  That they can’t play tennis in the street, or soccer at the park without an adult present.

Black was my choice of clothing today because I live with disappointment, deep in my heart, on a daily basis.

I am disappointed that our government did not deliver on its promises to the people who believed in them and voted for them.  It is heartbreaking when I see mothers begging on the street, while their toddlers play in the dirt, on the traffic islands, balanced precariously between two lanes of speeding, reckless drivers.

I am disappointed that every single happening in this country, becomes a racial issue.  Whether it be a comment about a break-in on our local neighbourhood Facebook page to two angry parents fighting over their children at the Spur.  I’m disappointed that after almost a quarter of a century of democracy, we still argue over race.

I am deeply disappointed that our government seems to think that history can be erased and changed at will.  When reading my child’s school textbook, I was appalled to discover that large portions of our country’s history have just been left out.  Statues are removed and hidden away.  Street names changed.

I wore black today because I live with fear.

Fear on a daily basis.  Fear that my teenage son will be murdered at school.  School – where in the past, you could leave your child, knowing that they were safe and being taught skills and knowledge.  I fear that some angry child will bring a knife to school and during a petty teenage disagreement, my son will be killed.  I fear that my husband will be driving his car, accidently bump a minibus taxi and be shot dead for his mistake.

I fear that I will wake up one night with strange men standing over our bed, having broken into our house to steal, rape or kill us.

I am all of the above – angry, disappointed and fearful, that I will one day have to leave my beautiful country.  Simply because I cannot see a future for my children in South Africa.

And so I wore black today.

Not for you Jacob Zuma.  You are not worthy of my choice of clothing.

I wore black because I am South African.  We are South African.  And South Africans should and must stand together to bring our country to the greatness it deserves.