Travel in South Africa - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Beautiful South Africa
Beautiful South Africa | Source

Introduction

In all my published travelogues I focus on the beauty of South Africa. Why? Perhaps because I was raised to look at the bright side and rather say nothing about the dark side. "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

In this hub, which I will link to all my travelogues, I'm giving my readers who are not living in South Africa the opportunity to get a balanced idea of South Africa. Let nobody ever say I created a false impression of my home country.

Yes, South Africa is a beautiful country

South Africa is indeed a beautiful country. Its geography and human-and-animal-friendly climate(s) make it a perfect homeland for all races and a tourist's paradise.


Beautiful South Africa - let the pictures talk for themselves

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful sunsets in South Africa Beautiful sunrises in South Africa Beautiful holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa Holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa Many beautiful nature reserves in South Africa Beautiful Durban, South Africa Beautiful beaches in South Africa. This one in Pennington, Kwazulu-Natal  Beautiful dams in South Africa. This is a view on the Hartbeesfontein Dam Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Bela-Bela (Warmbad) Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Stilfontein Beautiful renovated old houses in South Africa. This one part of the Purple House (guesthouse) in Winterton Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa Beautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of povertyBeautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of poverty Many beautiful water falls in South Africa. This one is the Howick Falls in Kwazulu-Natal   Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is a church in Swellendam Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is the Union Building in Pretoria @ Wikipedia Beautiful cultural heritage sites in South Africa . This one is near Clarence Many beautiful historical sites in South Africa  - This one is at Kerkenberg Many beautiful geographical wonders in South Africa  Harvard law scholar Cass Sunstein called South Africa's Constitution "the most admirable Constitution in the history of the world."  Human-friendly climate, South Africa @ Wikipedia
Beautiful sunsets in South Africa
Beautiful sunsets in South Africa | Source
Beautiful sunrises in South Africa
Beautiful sunrises in South Africa | Source
Beautiful holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa
Beautiful holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa | Source
Holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa
Holiday accommodation in Durban, South Africa | Source
Many beautiful nature reserves in South Africa
Many beautiful nature reserves in South Africa | Source
Beautiful Durban, South Africa
Beautiful Durban, South Africa | Source
Beautiful beaches in South Africa. This one in Pennington, Kwazulu-Natal
Beautiful beaches in South Africa. This one in Pennington, Kwazulu-Natal | Source
Beautiful dams in South Africa. This is a view on the Hartbeesfontein Dam
Beautiful dams in South Africa. This is a view on the Hartbeesfontein Dam | Source
Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Bela-Bela (Warmbad)
Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Bela-Bela (Warmbad) | Source
Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Stilfontein
Beautiful Shopping Centers in South Africa! This one in Stilfontein | Source
Beautiful renovated old houses in South Africa. This one part of the Purple House (guesthouse) in Winterton
Beautiful renovated old houses in South Africa. This one part of the Purple House (guesthouse) in Winterton | Source
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa | Source
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa | Source
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa
Beautiful properties of wealthy people in South Africa | Source
Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa
Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa | Source
Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa
Beautiful properties of the middle-class in South Africa | Source
Beautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of poverty
Beautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of poverty | Source
Beautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of poverty
Beautiful properties of the poor - an area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, occupied by Zulu-people who take pride in their environment in spite of poverty | Source
Many beautiful water falls in South Africa. This one is the Howick Falls in Kwazulu-Natal
Many beautiful water falls in South Africa. This one is the Howick Falls in Kwazulu-Natal | Source
Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is a church in Swellendam
Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is a church in Swellendam | Source
Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is the Union Building in Pretoria @ Wikipedia
Beautiful buildings in South Africa. This is the Union Building in Pretoria @ Wikipedia
Beautiful cultural heritage sites in South Africa . This one is near Clarence
Beautiful cultural heritage sites in South Africa . This one is near Clarence | Source
Many beautiful historical sites in South Africa  - This one is at Kerkenberg
Many beautiful historical sites in South Africa - This one is at Kerkenberg | Source
Many beautiful geographical wonders in South Africa
Many beautiful geographical wonders in South Africa | Source
Harvard law scholar Cass Sunstein called South Africa's Constitution "the most admirable Constitution in the history of the world."
Harvard law scholar Cass Sunstein called South Africa's Constitution "the most admirable Constitution in the history of the world." | Source
Human-friendly climate, South Africa @ Wikipedia
Human-friendly climate, South Africa @ Wikipedia

I can forever emphasize the beauty of South Africa

The beauty of South-Africa has no end. Tourism is one of our country's most flourishing businesses.

But, sadly, the bad and the ugly exist just as much as the beauty.

Let these pictures talk for themselves.

Bad South Africa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The torching of buildings - the order of the day Violent riots - the order of the day! Many poor people in South AfricaPoor people in South Africa Many people living in shacks, Soweto, South Africa Poor people living in horrible conditions!Poor whites in 'all-white' squatter camps - a proof of natural segregation, or racism?  Countless informal settlements all over the country due to urbanization of unemployed farm workers and miners Beggars of all races, ages and sexes at busy intersections in South Africa  Invasion of Blue Apes in Durban's elite suburbs Giant rats invaded not only prisons, but elite suburbs in the Western Cape Overcrowded prisons - the results of South Africa's  excessive crime rate Still dirt roads in the residential areas of mainly "all-black" townships, South Africans Trading on pavements called "Informal Business" as proper space for trading is unaffordable,  South AfricaTrading on pavements called "Informal Business" in South Africa Incomprehensibility, South Africa Poor providing shelter for poor relatives, South Africa Poor becoming poorer, South Africa  Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, as municipalities terminates service delivering due to too many residents not able (or willing) to settling their accounts Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, South Africa Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, due to corrupt, ineffective bancrupt municipalities, South Africa Still outside toilets for residents of townships, South AfricaPrimitive sanitation systems for squatters all over, South Africa Cattle grazing right next to national and provincial roads, causing cruelty to man and animal Water pollution, South Africa Electricity theft, South Africa Vandalism of apartheid-era statues, South Africa
The torching of buildings - the order of the day
The torching of buildings - the order of the day | Source
Violent riots - the order of the day!
Violent riots - the order of the day! | Source
Many poor people in South Africa
Many poor people in South Africa | Source
Poor people in South Africa
Poor people in South Africa | Source
Many people living in shacks, Soweto, South Africa
Many people living in shacks, Soweto, South Africa | Source
Poor people living in horrible conditions!
Poor people living in horrible conditions! | Source
Poor whites in 'all-white' squatter camps - a proof of natural segregation, or racism?
Poor whites in 'all-white' squatter camps - a proof of natural segregation, or racism? | Source
Countless informal settlements all over the country due to urbanization of unemployed farm workers and miners
Countless informal settlements all over the country due to urbanization of unemployed farm workers and miners | Source
Beggars of all races, ages and sexes at busy intersections in South Africa
Beggars of all races, ages and sexes at busy intersections in South Africa | Source
Invasion of Blue Apes in Durban's elite suburbs
Invasion of Blue Apes in Durban's elite suburbs | Source
Giant rats invaded not only prisons, but elite suburbs in the Western Cape
Giant rats invaded not only prisons, but elite suburbs in the Western Cape | Source
Overcrowded prisons - the results of South Africa's  excessive crime rate
Overcrowded prisons - the results of South Africa's excessive crime rate | Source
Still dirt roads in the residential areas of mainly "all-black" townships, South Africans
Still dirt roads in the residential areas of mainly "all-black" townships, South Africans | Source
Trading on pavements called "Informal Business" as proper space for trading is unaffordable,  South Africa
Trading on pavements called "Informal Business" as proper space for trading is unaffordable, South Africa | Source
Trading on pavements called "Informal Business" in South Africa
Trading on pavements called "Informal Business" in South Africa | Source
Incomprehensibility, South Africa
Incomprehensibility, South Africa | Source
Poor providing shelter for poor relatives, South Africa
Poor providing shelter for poor relatives, South Africa | Source
Poor becoming poorer, South Africa
Poor becoming poorer, South Africa | Source
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, as municipalities terminates service delivering due to too many residents not able (or willing) to settling their accounts
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, as municipalities terminates service delivering due to too many residents not able (or willing) to settling their accounts | Source
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, South Africa
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, South Africa | Source
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, due to corrupt, ineffective bancrupt municipalities, South Africa
Rubbish all over, especially in black neighborhoods, due to corrupt, ineffective bancrupt municipalities, South Africa | Source
Still outside toilets for residents of townships, South Africa
Still outside toilets for residents of townships, South Africa | Source
Primitive sanitation systems for squatters all over, South Africa
Primitive sanitation systems for squatters all over, South Africa | Source
Cattle grazing right next to national and provincial roads, causing cruelty to man and animal
Cattle grazing right next to national and provincial roads, causing cruelty to man and animal | Source
Water pollution, South Africa
Water pollution, South Africa | Source
Electricity theft, South Africa
Electricity theft, South Africa | Source
Vandalism of apartheid-era statues, South Africa
Vandalism of apartheid-era statues, South Africa | Source

This is but only a tip of the iceberg about BAD in South Africa!

Then we also have the UGLY...

The Ugly in South Africa

Crime

The increases in crimes such as sexual assault, murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and hi­jacking, is a matter of great concern in South Africa. What makes this even more alarming is the arrogant, brutal and even barbaric modus-operandi of most criminals. The 99% chance of getting bail and eventually parole after only a third of a sentence has been served, destroy all fear of the law.


  • From April 2015 to March 2016, 40 police officers were killed while they were on duty.
  • The ongoing murder of people all over the country (and NOT only the murder of white farmers, white people living on small holdings, and white, vulnerable senior citizens) are major issues that keep the flames of racism and xenophobia burning. During the 2015/16 year 446 violent farm-related incidents were reported. While 80 people were killed in the 532 attacks in the 2010/11 year, only 49 were killed in the 446 attacks of the 2015/16 year. However, this small decrease make no difference to the fact that violent crime causes great suffering among all races in South Africa.
  • Politically related violent incidents are also a matter of great concern. A total of 27 violent incidents have been reported between January 2016 and July 2016. Fourteen were murder or attempted murder cases.

Crime in South Africa has not become more violent since 1994

Anine Kriegler, Researcher and Doctoral Candidate in Criminology of the University of Cape Town, and Mark Shaw, Chair Professor at the University of Cape Town, recently busted the "myth" that South Africa has become more violent since democracy (1994). Their book, “A Citizen’s Guide to Crime Trends in South Africa”, includes centuries of murder statistics in South Africa, which they did not only obtained from annual crime reports, but also from reports that were hidden from the public. Every individual who wants a clear and balanced perspective on the reality of crime in SA, should read this book instead of forming opinions on media reports.

Approximately 50 murders per day in South Africa -

According to the annual statistics for the 2014/15 year, which were released by the police on September 29, 2015, 17,805 murders have been recorded. About 49 murders per day! Considering the population of almost 55-million, 33 people per 100,000 have been robbed of their lives.

The rising of these numbers in the 2015/16 year to almost 19,000 proved that public safety is deteriorating at a rate of 20% during the past four years. Gareth Newman, Head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division, envisions a decrease in murders and armed robberies over a period of ten years only after investment in programs that would reduce the extent of child neglect, abuse and trauma in all societies. He believes that South Africa needs more social workers, better trained teachers and a police force that focus on organized crimes and repeat offenders. Through effective use of crime intelligence, proper forensic reports and well-trained, motivated detectives, police will be able to get on top of South Africa's crime, he says.

Violent protests

Protests about serious and less serious issues ending in violence have become the order of the day in South Africa. Universities, schools, public and private properties have been set alight to such an extent that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has taken a decision not to publish and broadcast any content displaying violent protests. This decision only incited more protests, as it violates South Africa's Constitution.

A new ISS paper, At the heart of discontent: measuring public violence in South Africa has been launched in June 2016. The paper sets out preliminary findings from an analysis of the ISS Public Violence Monitor and other research on how to understand and respond to the phenomenon of violent protests.

Political corruption

According to African Affairs political corruption is entrenched in South Africa.

The top 10 corruption scandals in South Africa comprise among others mismanagement of public funds, maladministration in local governments, and abuse of resources. More than 66% of the municipalities are involved in alarming deals of supply chain management to the benefit of employees and Councillors. Tenderpreneurship is now all about greedy government employees partnering with “politically connected” people, manipulating the supply chain management procedures in order to win tenders from the state.

The negative impact of political corruption on South Africa's economy is deplorable!

Poverty and Unemployment

According to The Conversation, who followed the internationally recognized “Cost of Basic Needs” method, approximately 63% of South Africans are poor. In 2013 the unemployment rate was 25.2%. Trading Economics recently revealed a slight decrease to 26,6%.

Racism, Xenophobia, Hate Speech

Racism has many faces in South Africa. Abrahim Harvey, a political writer, analyst and author, listed whites towards blacks, and vice versa, coloured people towards blacks and whites, and vice versa, and now also the rice of intra-black racism.

Rhino pouching

From January to April 2016 a total of 363 rhinos were poached in South Africa.

Enough is enough!

I can list more ugliness, and give more detail about it, but why spoil the beauty in South Africa with the bad and the ugly, I ask myself daily.

Life is too short to appreciate all the beauty, and therefor I should spend ALL my available time appreciating beauty, I tell myself.

As humans we have choices, and, of course, we have responsibilities. Whatever bad and ugly we can, and may, and are supposed to turn into beauty, we should.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Please note: I refrain from posting pictures of ugliness in South Africa. Shocking images, videos and hundreds of articles are available on the Internet via search engines.

South Africa: What the tourist sees of Cape Town, the Garden Route, and the Drakensberg....

© 2016 Martie Coetser

More by this Author


Comments 44 comments

lions44 profile image

lions44 3 months ago from Auburn, WA

Shocking hub. The number of police officers killed was stunning. We have travel shows here in the U.S. that don't mention how bad it is (they tend to only go to Cape Town). I hope the nation gets help soon. Stay safe. Sharing.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 3 months ago from Norfolk

Some shocking statistics to be sure and one of the reasons why I left the country of my birth. I have been reading with interest that there appear to be some positive moves to charge ANC officials for corruption etc,

I still have members of my family living there so I do hope that things will get a lot better than they currently are.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 months ago from TEXAS

Dear Martie, I appreciate your honest look at ALL that exists in your country. It can't be addressed and remedied by being ignored. I feel your sense of its burden in your beloved homeland, even as you highlight and love its beauty and goodness. It will take me time to read and digest all the references you've provided.

The entire world needs addressing and remedied in many ways. Even relatively 'minor' improvements ARE improvements, rather than worsening.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

lions44 - Cape Town, in fact the entire Western Cape Province, is surely our most beautiful tourist attraction, worthwhile to visit over and over again. Fortunately tourists can always rely on tour guides who know how to avoid the bad and the ugly. I wish I could say something positive about crime in this country, for instance that we'll soon see the end of it thanks to one or another miracle that's going to happen, but honestly, I can't. While only psychopaths, soldiers and terrorists kill people elsewhere, it seems to be an impulsive act of every other angry person down here. Hopefully we will one day talk about the 'Wild SA' like you talk about the 'Wild West'. Thanks for being the first to comment.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

sallybea - I envy all who had grabbed the opportunity to leave SA. Worrying about your relatives who are still here must be hard, but at least you no longer have to worry about yourself becoming a victim of criminals or political activists. Enjoy your freedom! Yes, the end of contenious political corruption may be in the pipeline according to the latest news. But as you know, power corrupts, and greed is a contagious disease. Let's talk again about this at the end of next year. My best wishes to your relatives.


Readmikenow profile image

Readmikenow 3 months ago

This was very insightful. I learned quite a bit by reading this hub. As someone who only thinks of South Africa in terms of its natural beauty, this was an eye opener. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

Dear Nellieanna, I suggest you don't read any of the references, as it will only upset you. While I've been an optimist for the most part of my life, I have turned into a pessimist, able to understand some or another wise guy' s definition of a pessimist - a well-informed optimist. Lol! At least I have learned how to enjoy and appreciate even the smallest beauty, and I love sharing all of it. Yes, the devil is not only loose in SA, but in the entire world. My heart goes out to all victims of bad and ugly. When I think about them, I realize that I am not at all a victim, but only a sad observer of badness and ugliness :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

Readmikenow, natural beauty will always be everywhere. People, however, have the tendency to mess it all up. Keep your positive perspective!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

This is so so sad. The poverty, brutality, cruelty to nature. I hope you will forgive me for not reading the links. I cannot bear it. I worry so much about our world while trying to do what I can to impact what I can change.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 months ago from Texas

Martie, I have someone on my FB list I went to school with. She's currently touring there and I see her pictures and think of you and the love you have for the beauty of your country. It is bad and ugly all over the world, yes, but there is beauty too. I hope you never stop focusing on the positive. You've said things to me in the past I didn't understand, but as I've grown some the last few years, I understand more now. So many here have offered those new perspectives for me to think about. I am glad for the positive influence of friends like you.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

FlourishAnyway - The same here, although my efforts to be the change I want to see have absolutely no impact on the whole - like being a candle light competing with a devastating forest fire :(


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa Author

Hi shanmarie! Social media is the most wonderful phenomenon - it gives all of us the opportunity to expand our perspectives and perceptions. Knowing what goes on in the rest of the world, and also in one's own country, give us a total new outlook on life and the wonderful privilege of being alive. One can clearly distinguish between people who expand their horizons via the Internet and social sites and those who prefer seeing and hearing only what goes on in their small personal world.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 months ago from Central Florida

Martie, I'm so glad you choose to spotlight the beauty of your homeland. Until I read your wonderful travelogues, all I knew of Africa in general was the ugly and the bad, with the exception of the amazing animals that call Africa home. I'm surprised that poaching has risen. Well, not totally, but I was under the impression animals rights groups were putting a stop to it. Your statistics on rhino poaching are astonishing!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

Thank you for sharing this. I would have to write ten articles to detail the bad and ugly of the U.S. It is all necessary to see the complete picture, and I admire you for writing this to fill out that picture.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

This is a nightmare Martie, I like you and others thought that when apartheid ended things would be different. not so. such a shame, I remember back around 15 years ago, a friend of mine told me never to go there on vacation, when I asked why he simply said, 'I am south african'!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Oh Martie, I had no idea such violence and crime was going on in South Africa. In my own mind I picture only the beauty, freedom for wildlife and such. The entire world has changed so much in the last few years. Thanks for all the links you've provided. I am literally sick to hear that poaching is on the rise. Terrible!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 months ago from The Caribbean

Martie, it's like two different worlds there. My heart goes out to the underprivileged folks, but really to everyone because everyone is affected in the long run. Just how much worse can the world get? No wonder people like think about heaven when it comes time to die!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

@ bravewarrior – Believe me, all involved institutions are fighting rhino poaching to the best of their ability. But the bloody scum still poach before they get caught or killed in action. I’ve heard about paint that destroys the value of the horn but not the horn. Why doesn’t everybody use it? Oh, according to this article it doesn’t really work - https://www.savetherhino.org/rhinoory. Amputation of the horn is also not an option… The worse of all, corruption reigns in this business – guards being members of a syndicate, or being bribed.

@ billybuc – Of course, I have exposed only the ears of the hippos called Beautiful, Bad and Ugly. As individuals we cannot change this, but we can change our own perspectives and attitudes. We can take a firmer stand against bad and ugly and appreciate the beauty even more.

@ Nell Rose – I don’t think we should go anywhere in the world without guidance. Beautiful, unspoiled nature is just as dangerous – the habitat of venomous spiders, snakes, carnivores, territory-obsessed herbivores, etc. Be cautious and alert, avoid danger zones, and rely on someone who knows the country, are some of the rules for all tourists in all countries. Call me when you are ready for a tour. We’ll take good care of you :)

@ vocalcoach – Knowing what goes on in the rest of the world is actually the only reason why I am still in SA, appreciating the beauty and coping with the rest. Rather stick to the devil you know :) One day, perhaps, the powers to be may be able to detect crime before it happens. Imagine, mind-reading satellites, programmed to prevent people from committing crimes. What shock me the most is the raping and killing of children and old people, and all cruelty to animals. Only last week 6 boys (teenagers) were arrested for raping a dog. How ignorant, heartless and ill-bred does one have to be to commit such a horrible act? And let me rather not tell you how many babies and small children become the victims of completely swallow, heartless, soulless creatures who blame their being on Colonialism, Capitalism, Apartheid, unemployment, poverty and all such excuses. Really, I can’t wrap my mind around any of this!

@ MsDora - yes, everyone gets affected. And this is so sad :(


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

My dear Aries sister, always good to see you and read your fabulous work. Alas, we all need to be aware and understand that nowhere in this world is there a Utopia nor paradise. We must all learn to respect & appreciate the good & the beautiful while we also feel the pain & sadness for the bad & the ugly. There is much for us to work toward and a serious need for compassion charity and humanitarianism.

This intricate presentation is ever more priceless to me because it comes from my friend who lives in South Africa, allowing an up-close and personal front row vantage point of reality.

Hoping you are well Martie....and sending you hugs & love...Paula.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

Hi dear fpherj48! Thank you so much for your supportive and comforting comment. This is the kind of comment that 'feels' like a hug. Knowing that I have empathetic friends 'on the other side' of the world keeps me from feeling "all alone, compelled to fight the enemy all by myself."

I want to emphasize that ALL citizens in South Africa suffer the Bad and the Ugly, and not only some of the races. Whites were better protected against crime during Apartheid while the rest had to suffer all by themselves. I remember even innocent law-abiding blacks received no empathy when they tried to rely on the police. Whites are still privileged, living in bubbles where gangsterism, protests, organized strikes, riots and intimidation don't exist. While thousands of whites wish they can leave the country in order to raise their children in a safer environment, thousands of blacks wish they can leave the townships for the same reason. Opportunities to escape one's circumstances have always been scarce!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

Sounds amazing Martie, thank you!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Oh dear Sista,

You are a true journalist in sharing the total picture of South Africa.

It's easy to be lulled into the beautiful and idyllic - while cruelty and ugliness exists under our very noses.

Your photography shares so much in addition to these statistics, which are staggering. I will take your advice to Nellieanna and not probe much more in the numerous links you have included.

Instead I will keep you close in my heart and mind - sending you all the hugs and wishes for safety you will ever need. Love you always, mar


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

@ NellRose, in the meanwhile I keep the champagne on ice.... To be honest, some time ago I considered organizing tours for my online friends. The costs per tourist would be much cheaper than that of professional tour guides, because making a profit would not be my goal. But oh, after being an organizer of inter alia tours for a youth orchestra for 20 years, I just don't feel like organizing anything in my life again. But who knows? I may change my mind.

@ Dear marcoujor, thank you so much for keeping me close to your heart. How does the crime affect me? The news of the day compels me to keep the doors of my home and office locked 24/7, keeping myself safe behind security gates of steel 24/7, which I can open after being convinced that the visitor or client is not a criminal in disguise. It compels me to be alert 24/7, to observe my environment from the moment I leave my home/office until I am safely behind bars again. Working in my garden, or having a barbecue at the pool, with my eyes and ears wide open, as any criminal, or group of criminals, may jump the fence and kill me just because they want my cellphone and whatever money I have in my purse.... driving in my car from A to Z, constantly aware of the fact that I may become a victim of a hijacker, or a smash-and-grabber, or stone-throwers busy projecting their anger on motorists, or a careless black taxi-driver who bought (instead of passed) his drivers license. It means never to allow my grandchildren to walk alone in the street, but to take them personally to wherever they have to be. It means expecting bad news all the time - about a relative or friend attacked and killed.... and so forth. As I've said, we whites have been spoiled rotten during Apartheid. We were better protected against born-and-raised or good-people-turned-into-criminals, while our black and brown fellow-South Africans were compelled to live in the circumstances all of us are now living in. Anyway, as I've said, I am still safer than any black person still living in the townships where criminals and gangsters intimidate entire communities.

I must emphasize this: Right here in my neighborhood a white lady was murdered by her white neighbor, who wanted money for drugs. A year ago a 10-year old girl was raped and almost killed by a white kidnapper right here in my neighborhood. So, I am not busy telling you that white criminals don't exist in SA. The only fact is that crime as a business is flourishing due to causes that are supposed to be properly addressed by the government, and the latter seems to be totally incompetent. Law-abiding citizens are squashed between an incompetent, corrupt government and criminals. I must say, after our recent election, I do see some light at the end of this tunnel. Let's see what the situation will be like by next year's September.

Love you lots, my dear sista!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for sharing all the photos and information, Martie. The facts are both sad and troubling. I am very sorry for your country and its people. South Africa deserves so much better.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

Alicia, I appreciate your empathy. Hopefully South Africa will become the country it is able to be, keeping its beauty and rich resources in mind.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 months ago from TEXAS

Dear Martie. All your replies to people’s comments are sensible and helpful, each dealing with a different facet of the issues your essay brings to light. I can benefit from each of those different perspectives, so thank you.

Beloved CD. I appreciate your reply to me and your caution against becoming more fully informed at the risk of becoming upset or pessimistic about it. I do understand how that can easily happen, especially if one is coming from a much more optimistic perspective. However, mine has never been weighed either extreme or direction..

Of course, if that happened, the contrast could be upsetting and overwhelming. There is an almost natural, automatic reaction if one's basic certainty is challenged. Many people can recall when we found out there is no Santa Claus and the disappointment and disillusionment which was experienced. I honestly don't think I experienced that. I'd been aware of too much evidence that the giving was from my parents and that was OK. I was happy about it.

I prefer to be informed, especially if it’s something that impacts me and mine. These days that is almost anything going on anywhere on the globe. It especially explains why I’m glued to our own elections coverage & have been since it began. I don’t want to wake up Nov. 9 and know very little about the person who has become my President or even what he or she has done for the last year or so to get there - and if and how it affected others to go for or against him or her. It's all part of the reality in which I live, so I need to know. Actually, what upsets me is to have ignored or not noticed realities involved and to be caught unawares and unprepared, as much as possible.

You may have heard me say it before ,since I’ve characterized myself this way for decades, -- that my perspective as I describe it, is ‘optimistically realistic’ and ‘realistically optimist’ and it’s the way I view life in most all situations. It's very real. I know not to ‘expect’ the way I would prefer 'it' to BE the likely way it IS or will be.I am prepared to live with the outcome which IS and will try to resist saying “I told you so.” ;) haha. In fact I”m optimistic enough to hope there will be no need to say that, whichever way it becomes! But now is the time to foresee strong possibilities, not to bury or ignore the because we don't prefer it be that way. If I’m ‘righthand they do develop the unpreferred direction, - then it will be not good for any of us.

I’m sure there are many efforts in your country to remedy grievous issues going on there. Believe me, I do intend to read more about that. I need to know!

Meanwhile, if realistic negative factors are ignored, then oneself, (or the whole group) are setting ourselves up for a fall. The real factors WILL emerge and will make differences in the scheme of things. Then it will be too late to have 'blocked them at the pass'. At the same time, if actual positive possibilities and remedies are ignored out of discouragement or propaganda, then we are setting ourselves up for even more devastating discouragement, which is the tool which negativity wields to win converts, prove it’s as bad as it may seem, keep them helpless, and defeated in any effort to improve it.

I don’t lose sight of my innate awareness that ‘the thing’ is not a ‘pure entity’ consisting of either all the ‘bad stuff’ OR all sweetness and light but is a mixture of ingredients, pushing and pulling against each other, in which either could get the upper hand & power, and may be trying diligently to do so.

Assuming it is ‘all of a piece’ - either all gloomy or all wonderful - is as unrealistic as it is expecting it to stay the same. Nothing does. It’s all reacting and resending to human input and pressure. Everything is in process and could move toward either pole and probably will, but will not ever reach a state of equilibrium. So why expect it to? There is realistically no reason to assume that it must go either of the ways, or at least — not all the way either way and definitely not permanently.

Most importantly, the underlying fact is that for oneself, personally, how one perceives it and what one’s own input is, has much influence on which direction it goes. The most vital ingredient is that those situations outside one’s own sphere need have much less real power over one’s own ability-to-respond (responsibility) and one’s own inner balance and peace of mind than how one chooses to view them.

Silk purses can’t be made out of pig’s hide, but they can be lined in silk. ;)


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 months ago from Texas

Social media is a very good thing, though I will admit there are times I am perfectly happy with just knowing what goes on in my personal bubble. Whenever mine expands too far beyond my own little world. Lately, I find myself wishing I could do more than I can do for others who are suffering. And I just can't turn off the feelings of empathy. I don't fall apart thinking about their plight's, but it sure leaves me feeling powerless. So it is with the worldwide perspective as well. But if we are so powerless on a personal level or a local level, it seems less so on a world level.

That said, broadening our horizons through social media or personally in other ways is not all bad and even the most helpless moments are not as helpless as they may seem. All the little positive things combined make a difference, particularly to those who focus on the good. For instance, I wasn't just referring to your sharing information about your country with us. That's very eye-opening and realistic and offers a much more open-minded perspective for sure. But I was also referring to you on a personal level as I've interacted with you.

I hope that if people apply more of that kind of thinking to everyday situations and the troubles of the world, it makes an impact for the better. Like when communities come together after a natural disaster, and the rest of the country or the world joins in to send supplies and support or when people rally together to help terrorism victims. Even in my life, I cannot count the blessings I've received from both friends, from family and from total strangers. It's easy to focus on the negative when in the middle of something, but then all the beauty shows itself if we look. I rather like the concept of the phoenix rising from the ashes and the imagery it evokes in my mind.

You're trying to keep a balanced approach, but again, I do hope you never lose sight of the positive side of things. Every time I seem to slip a little more toward being too pessimistic about an issue or about life in general. ..humanity....anything. . .something else always happens to bring me back around. Always.

Nations are hurting, no doubt. But the people can still influence one another for the better.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 months ago from Texas

P.S. I hadn't intended to publish this as a hub, but I wrote a poem last night that pretty much sums up what I just said to you. After I submitted my comment to you, I realized it fit. So I just published it as a hub. It's called The Rain Came if you want to read it.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

Dear Nellieanna, thank you so much for your comforting comment. I'm not yet 100% able to accept all the trends of events with an ‘optimistically realistic’ perspective. I still get pretty pessimistic about too many bad things out of my control. But believe me, my dear CM, you are my role-model and one day I'm going to be just as wise and collected like you. Your presence in my life means the world to me.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Like many others here I've also visited your lovely country, and even as a tourist and an outsider, alongside all the natural wonders and delights the sad side is evident. There's one good thought: when the pendulum has swung so far down there's only one way to go, and that's up! Let's hope that happens soon.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Really hard to say anything, Martie.

I had the feeling that things are not good in South Africa ever since I watched that film "Disgrace" with John Malkovich.

Back then you and Maja said that things are not THAT bad, but it's the feeling that was hard to shake. Just like your reaction today about that cruel videoclip.

Of all things and movies, that I know about South Africa, the first image that comes to mind is "Disgrace". And I watched it a while ago, and it took time to make a film and it took time to write a book, so the problem(s) did not start yesterday.

I only wish that all that bad and the ugly would be resolved sooner than later, but from history I know, that once started, it's a long way to peace and normality, shall I say. It's easy to unleash the beast, it's not that easy to tame it.

Violence is not the answer - that's what is taught in the Canadian schools, but if the mayhem will start here for whatever reason, it would not be much more civilized. How inhuman humans could be? Very.

If you think about Germans - they were civilized, weren't they? They were not savages. You get my point.

My heart goes out to you and your countrymen - may peace be with you.

Hugs,


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

TO ALL – Please note I've made some changes to the hub, as The Team threatened to unpublish it because they regard it as ‘over-promotional’. Apparently I had too many ‘read more about this” links. Also note my new conclusion.

@ shanmarie – How I hate that feeling of powerlessness, and this is exactly what I suffer when I focus on the bad and the ugly. Thank you so much for your supportive comment. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

@ BlossomSB – The result of the recent election has given me new hope. Also, when I remember the time of Apartheid, when ALL Africans were so terribly poor and undervalued, I realize that S.A. had, in spite of what’s bad and ugly today, grown into a great nation. And we are still growing.

@ Kallini – Thank you so much for your truly comforting comment. If you focus on the bad and the ugly, you are not able to see the good. Those films and documentaries that went all around the world totally focused on the bad and ugly. I know what I should do. But then, may I never become blasé and careless about the bad and the ugly.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

NB: One of my relatives reminded me of the following -

Deryck Coetzer: Thank you Martie, this is indeed a story necessary to get told, but I need to stress something to be considered. My wife and I travelled through large parts of the Western and Northern Cape during the past couple of weeks. Although I cannot differ from the bleak statistics of crime, corruption and violence in most areas of our beautiful country, I need to stress that there are areas where it is vastly different. Some of the smaller towns in SA offer wonderful tourist attractions without the crime statistics to accompany them. Some examples: In Swellendam, I noticed houses standing open at night. The West Coast, petty crime are the most prevalent. We need to speak out about the bad and the ugly, but I think it is also important we give credit to the places where communities have got it right.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 months ago from TEXAS

You asked for responses to the revised conclusion. I think the thrust of your hub is not diminished by providing a 'look up' at the end, while gently suggesting to the reader that it's possible to research it further to be more informed about all the crime and ugliness. We need a balanced view.

What is evil and bleak is part of what the world is. It's up to the good of it to lift it up. Your relative is wise to mention the need to provide the good of it.

Thank you for your lovely words. It's not as if my life doesn't encounter the bad and the ugly, nor that I'm unaware of them. But we're given choices all along the way and we get to emphasize the better parts. We are never forced into considering the beautiful and the good. That part is the do-it-yourself element.

Hugs.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 months ago from southern USA

Dear Martie,

My dear Mother said that very thing to us children growing up. She always looked for the good and beauty in things and never thought long on the ugly, and I never recall her saying anything negative about anyone, and she lived to be 84. It is no wonder she was always kept in perfect peace it seems throughout her life. I wish I could say that ...

Your country is beautiful and thank you for sharing it via your photos. There is a good, bad, and ugly everywhere in the world it seems nowadays, sadly.

You do make a great photo journalist! Pictures say a thousand words.

I'm glad you are hopeful with this election there. When never should lose hope for a better future. Children are our hope and let's pray they do a lot better job than we have with it.

I have a small tapestry hanging on my wall of the Serenity Prayer that I read before I run out the door in the mornings.

Stay safe, lovely woman.

Hugs and Peace always


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

@ Nellieanna – I believe one should post links to sources. It is in fact the right thing to do in the world of journalism. Sadly, the Team sees it as over-promotional. Perhaps one can post the urls of sources at the end of an article without linking it? Instead of using the phrase “read more here”, I will hence insert links inside a sentence, or sub-title and then see if they still have a problem with it. On the other hand, it is so easy to google a couple of words and gets hundreds of links on a topic. I love your profile picture! Let’s stay positive :)

@ Faith Reaper – First of all, congratulations with your hubby-award! Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. Yes, the Serenity Prayer is most certainly evergreen and an effective tool when it comes to the making of our daily decisions. Take care, dear Theresa :)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Martie - This is a disturbing piece of journalism. Sad, that the corruption and violence has risen to such levels. Keep you and your family safe. Put together an escape plan.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

Hi Mike - In my dreams I have many escape plans, but oh, leaving and starting a new life in a foreign country seem to be a bigger challenge than coping with the bad and the ugly in my beautiful home country. Some people can easily uproot. Keep in mind that I was unhappily married for 20 years. Stick to the devil you know, keep him away from your throat, and hope for a miracle seems to be my instinctive response... until an irresistible opportunity to escape presents itself. Thanks for you support, Mike. Much appreciated!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Martie you have been clear and honest in this article. Yes there is a lot going on in South Africa that has nothing to do with beauty and joy. For unknown reasons I ( on a soul level) have chosen to live where I do, in Cape Town . Thank goodness I'm a very happy and grateful individual that loves South Africa with all its ups and downs and would not want to live anywhere else, but I'm never in denial about what is going on. I do question what is it like to be living in the UK or the USA? At least we have our landscapes, our rainbow nation and the diversity that makes our country unique. We are all having a human experience no matter where we live. Great post.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 months ago from South Africa Author

Hi Nadine, you are so lucky, living in the most beautiful area of SA where one seldom if ever see the bad and the ugly, except on TV. Let me rather not expatiate on this statement, as you know exactly what I mean. What irritates me the most in my neck of the woods is the rubbish. When we put our garbage once a week on the pavement for the municipality to collect, collectors of plastic, and whatever they can can sell for a few cents, come like blowflies to a corps. They don't clean up the mess they create, leaving everything open for the wind to blow around. The municipal workers don't pick up any rubbish that is not inside a black refuse bag, so.... go figure. Klerksdorp's midtown looks terrible - on every other corner rubbish rubbish rubbish. The townships look absolutely terrible, as the municipality simply ignores the areas where the majority of residents don't pay their municipal accounts. Really, this may be a minor issue comparing to the crime rate, but I believe one can not work in a filthy environment, and one cannot be proud of himself and his country when his environment looks like a rubbish dump. On route between home and work I often park my car to collect rubbish I can no longer tolerate. At least I can do something about this, while I can do nothing about the two-legged rubbish who rob and kill law-abiding citizens as far as they go. I have no idea how long its going to take for neatness, honesty and integrity to become norm and standard again.

Thanks for reading and commenting, dear Nadine :)


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 weeks ago from Northern California, USA

This is an eye-opening article. I have friends who travel to South Africa on a regular basis to vacation. They love it! But, I only read about the ugly part of South Africa and could not understand why they would look forward to visiting there. Now, after reading your article I can see that South Africa is no different than the U.S. with the good and the bad.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 weeks ago from South Africa Author

MarleneB – Have a look at all my Photo Tours of South Africa, and see more of our beautiful country. The majority people are beautiful and well-known for their hospitality. Our only complaints are: Too many corrupt and incompetent politicians and leaders/managers in charge of top state enterprises, and too many criminals. The latter is the result of the first. South Africa is very much like the USA; social issues are the same, issues between people and government are the same, people are the same, they merely live in separate countries, etc. I hope you will get an opportunity to visit SA.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Martie, dear woman..I was just thinking about you and I know from previous experience that when a friend comes to mind, it's the ideal opportunity to say, "Hello, you're in my heart and I'm wishing you well." That;s all......Hugs, Paula


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 weeks ago from South Africa Author

Lots of hugs to you, dear fpherj48. I appreciate your thoughts with all my heart :)

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