The ApartheidFrom 1948 until 1980 South Africa was the only country in Africa with a White government and a constitution discriminating against the majority of its citizens; the ‘Blacks’. ‘Black’ is not a term of abuse, in Africa they talk about ‘Black’, ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ persons. In the time of the Apartheid the ‘White’ and ‘Black’ people were set apart from each-other and even the ‘half-blooded’ children were set in a different area. Families were separated from each-other. The Townships; 4 x 4 m. dumps, covered with sheets of corrugated iron and rotten wood are still the remains of the Black people been set apart from their own land. The Township in Capetown is about 10 kilometers long. ‘Unbelievable that so many families have to live in these circumstances!’ In some places throughout South Africa some dumps are being rebuild with more solid material, only there was not enough money from the government to rebuild more of them, even though they made this promise.
Black EmpowermentFrom 1980 onwards Black leaders came into the picture again and an effort for ‘Black Empowerment’;the reclaim of land to the former owners, was started.
Max Havelaar is trying to make a little contribution to the Black Empowerment as well by means of their fair-trade production. They encourage the companies to let their workers become joint-holders of the land.
AIDS & RapesSouth Africa is not only a country with a tragical past due to the suppression of the Black-people, also South Africa has a dark shadow due to the enormous percentage of AIDS in this country. Some villages contain a 80% HIV positive number of citizens. Around 800 people die of AIDS each day in South Africa. Jeffrey Bartholet said in the 1/17/2000 issue of Newsweek that 85 percent of the world's deaths from AIDS in 1999 were in Africa. The life expectancy in some African countries is decreasing alarmingly. In the same issue, a different article said there are millions of orphans in Africa whose parents have died of aids and that in Sub-Sahara Africa, 6,000 men and women are dying each day of AIDS.
Although educational campaigns made an effort to educate the people about the risks, there is still an explosive increasing numbers of AIDS each day. Some schools have VIGS friendly signs on their buildings. This indicates that the children are well informed that having AIDS does not mean that those children can not be touched or caressed. This is really important while there is still a lot misunderstanding about AIDS and the spreading of AIDS throughout the South-African population.
The following message makes an understatement of the misunderstanding about the spreading of AIDS:
May 5, 2006 - It’s being billed as the most sensational trial since the end of apartheid. Jacob Zuma, the 64-year-old former deputy president of South Africa, is accused of raping an HIV-positive 31-year-old woman who says she considered him her mentor. Zuma admits there was intercourse, but he says that it was consensual. Among the graphic details captivating the nation: Zuma's claim that he had reduced his chances of infection by taking a shower after his condom-free sex. By Karen MacGregor, Special to Newsweek
Another example of misunderstanding is the ‘virgin rape’ myth, which is a rumor in parts of Africa, including large portions of South Africa, that having sex with a virgin will cleanse a male of AIDS. The Johannesburg city council conducted a three-year study of about 28,000 men. They found that 1 in 5 believed in the virgin-AIDS cure. Although some surveys suggest that belief in the “virgin rape” myth is common in South Africa, in only a tiny number of child abuse cases has the accused himself claimed that it was a motivating factor in his crime. In many traditional African belief systems, sex is held to have a ritualistic, purifying function. “So, if people hear of the myth they may think it sounds as if it could be true,” Jewkes told a reporter in 2002.
But even if the virgin-AIDS cure is not the major reason for the rapes, South Africa has one of the highest rape statistics in the world. In 1988, a total of 19 308 cases of rape were reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS). In 1994, this figure increased to 42 429 reported cases of rape. In 1996, 50 481 cases of rape were reported to the SAPS. According to the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation (NICRO), the situation is more serious.
NICRO has estimated that only one in twenty rapes are reported to the police. On the basis of this estimate,it is calculated that one rape occurs every 83 seconds.The SAPS has recently presented an even bleaker picture and they have suggested that one rape occurs every 35 seconds. In 2000, the Johannesburg police department’s sexual offenses unit were saddled with 200 new cases a month. Sometimes the accused make their own arrangements with the police, who will typically “lose” a docket for the equivalent of three American dollars. The conviction rate for reported rapes is about 7%, and most of these cases involve children. Among cases of adult rape, the conviction rate is 1%.
SafetyEven if the ‘south Africa good news’ reports a statistic of about the same number of crimes in the capital of the Netherlands as in the capital of South Africa, other reports give the message of South Africa to become the world’s most murderous country in 2005. A record number of 1,669 murders were committed during the year, giving a murder rate of 62 per 100,000 inhabitants.
People being hijacked from their car on some of the main roads in South Africa is common news. South Africa is also one of the top countries of possession of conventional weapons. Purse snatching is therefore quite often done being armed. Especially white South-African people are not eager to go out of their houses, once it is dark outside. The big iron fences around all the white-peoples houses and in all over the cities give a well indication about the safety feeling in this country.
Nevertheless, South Africa is still a beautiful country to visitAll of the above issues are not a reason to stop visiting South Africa. As a tourist you just have to be aware where you can or cannot go, especially at night.
One thing I wouldn’t do twice is to arrive with a bus in the city of Johannesburg. I was, apart from one other person that I had seen at the bus station, the only white person I had seen throughout the city which I was driving through by taxi direction the airport. The area I had to drive through, didn’t felt good at all, and I was glad to arrive safely at the airport.
Furthermore, as a vegetarian you can find opportunities to eat well, as long as you don't get sick of all the enormous amount of meat eating people around you.
But have a look at the photo’s I have made in South-Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho and you will see that South-Africa is wonderful place to see wildlife and to enjoy beauty of nature.