COMING TOGETHER: Mel Ve talks to Leigh Oxley & Karin Smith – This discussion was a long time overdue happening, and I was ever so grateful for the opportunity to speak with two magnificent South African women doing what they can in their respective efforts to help and assist the people of South Africa. As promised, please find below the very touching message that Karin Smith read out on this show, its says more than I ever can about the very tragic state of affairs going on in South Africa: Laurie Pieters-James updated her status – June 12 at 12:58am – It has taken me a while to decide to post this. Not because I am afraid of speaking out, but because I don’t want anyone to think I am selfish or heartless. Recent weeks have seen hideous tragedy unfold in London, where many innocent people lost their lives, or were injured, or emotionally shattered. Melbourne had their own small taste of it. And not too long ago Paris was subjected to terrorist activity, resulting in death, heartache, fear and devastation. My heart goes out to those countries, the families affected, the victims families, the people touched by those ghastly events. And they are all in my prayers, that I assure you. But then I watch in fascination as thousand hold silent vigils, thousands of wreaths and flowers are laid at appropriate points. Televised interviews, magazine articles, newspaper front pages, Facebook posts. Wherever you turn, the latest tragedy is featured there. People are broken, upset, angry and determined to stand together to stamp out these atrocities. Facebook profiles change to the flag of the victimised country and world wide pleas are heard to “Pray for London” (or whichever country or town it is at the time). People speak out and publicly announce that they will stand together and not live in fear. Leaders of the country affected and other countries world wide speak out against the terrorism, some in plain and simple terms (Australia’s amazing prime minister). And that’s the way it SHOULD be. The world SHOULD come together as one where there’s starvation, terrorism, poverty or any other tragedy. It’s comforting to know that so millions are behind you, standing with you, supporting you and there to help. Nobody should have to live in fear, frightened to carry on with life or to step out their own front door. Nobody should sleep with one eye open or be afraid in their own home. And then, in stark contrast, we look at our own country. Our precious and beautiful South Africa. And we bow our heads in sorrow. Our hearts break, and our anger boils. Puzzled? Let me help you out…. 51 Murders 3 Children killed 49 Attempted murders 109 Rapes 363 Armed robberies 142 Sexual offences 451 Assaults 41 Hijackings 686 House 147 vehicles stolen 710 Drug related crimes PER DAY!!! YES….A DAY!! That is what happens EVERY SINGLE DAY in our once amazing South Africa. And those are just the ones reported. The ones we know about. Many more go unnoticed or unreported due to lack of facilities, lack of service, intimidation, or fear. But that’s not all! 1 in 3 Children suffer severe abuse 200 Common robberies occur daily Every 8 hours a woman is abused by an intimate partner Babies and small children are raped…several each day Our farmers are viciously and cruelly attacked, tortured and murdered..at the rate of 26 farms in two months AND…that’s just the crime Government and municipal institutions are without funding, and for the most part without capabilities. Lawlessness and an ineffective justice system are the order of the day. Bribery and corruption thrive. And funding is withdrawn from old age homes, medical facilities, children’s homes and animal care facilities. Our latest example is that the horse and dogs of the Metro police are left without food or hay for days at a time. And KZN has NO oncologists in government hospitals…..Not one. A huge number of law enforcement officers are corrupt, not to mention the government itself. Furthermore the emotional well being of every citizen is at stake. Almost everyone I know has lost either friends or family….if not to violent crime, then to immigration. People move to other countries and start over, leaving behind family, friends, and everything they’ve ever known. Why? Because they’re tired of living in fear. Because they want a future for their children. Families are fragmented and the whole family unit is not as it should be. And an ever shrinking number is stalwarts stand their ground, hoping, praying, believing that somehow things will get better. And where is the world in all this? Does everyone’s Facebook status change to South Africa’s flag? Are there worldwide cries of “Pray for South Africa”? Where are the wreaths and flowers laid for our 51 murdered souls…..EVERY DAY?!?! What about THEIR minutes silence? Why aren’t world leaders crying out in shock and outrage at the carnage that is our country? Apart from a handful….where is the television coverage of these atrocities? How many newspapers have ever had these abhorrent statistics or happenings as their front page? How many magazines in the world have covered our farm killings or child rape? And when you watch the news….internationally I’m talking….do you EVER see mention of ANY of this? If the people outside of SA don’t hear about this disaster from friends or family inside the country, then they don’t hear about it at all. Why. Is it because the floors of our country would be littered with so many flowers and wreaths that it would be impossible to walk? Is it because so many moments of silence would be required that whole hours of complete silence would follow? Is it because of fear of retaliation if they dare speak out or print the truth? Or have people (those that know) simply become so blasè about it, that it’s just another part of every day life? That’s how South Africa is, so everyone’s just accepted it? Let me tell you what it’s like from a South Africans point of view. We’re CONSTANTLY afraid. We look over our shoulder every day of our lives, and suspect fellow pedestrians or individuals who may just be passing by. We live behind high walls, and we add razor wire or electric fences on top. We attend funerals, and we say countless goodbyes at airports. Those who can afford it arm alarms, set beams in their gardens, and triple lock doors and gates. Every sound makes you jump, look, fear. We avoid certain areas, and try not to place ourselves in situations where we know what could happen. We watch our sidewalks, public areas, schools and hospitals fall apart. We pray we don’t get sick, because so many of us have no medical aid. We know we won’t get help if we go to our local police station, so we start our own organisations. And on top of it all, we now have the honour of being Junk Status, and being in a recession. So we scrimp and save, go without, and cut corners wherever we can. Yes, there are exceptions, like with anything. But for the vast majority of us, life is difficult, sad, filled with fear, and a deep sense of desperation. We are living with disaster EVERY DAY! Mothers lose children, wives lose husbands, death, chaos, heartache and catastrophe are a part of our every day lives. I’m sure I can hear the cynics saying, “So leave! If it’s so terrible why stay?” Well not all of us CAN leave! It takes money, qualifications, and an enormous amount of emotional strength, leaving behind many who we know we will never see again. Just so you know, Skype and whatsapp aren’t quite the same as in the flesh. Secondly, WHY SHOULD WE LEAVE? I for one was born in South Africa. I am South African, just like anyone else who was born here, regardless of colour or culture. I love my country, it lives deep within my heart, and while those that have immigrated may not regret it, because they’re living a better and safer life, they left under duress, not because they wanted to. We are being forced out of the country of our birth, the country that is our home, and I challenge anyone anywhere in the world to tell me that doesn’t SUCK!! There is so much beauty on our South Africa that it would be impossible to list. The people, their spirit, the land, the scenery, the oceans, the beache’s, the mountains, the wild life, the list goes on and on. If youve lived here or even visited, you’ll know what I mean. Our country is magnificent. But we as a nation made a decision in 1995 that we thought was for the good of our country. We boldly stood up & stood as one and said, this is OUR country, and this is the way forward. In case you’re still not sure, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. And so I ask, with broken heart and heart felt pleas….pray for us. Pray for peace, pray for the correct leadership, pray for our future. Take five minutes of your day and pray for the turmoil we experience 24/7. Don’t mock, don’t criticise, don’t tell us we should leave. Think about how It must feel to live here. There are countries experiencing terrorism or war, poverty or starvation, disaster or illness. We live with all of that, day in and day out. We don’t have terrorists doing this, this is being done by our own people, and by our so called leaders. But because we are South Africans, we fight on, we hope, we believe. So PRAY for us, no matter who or where you are. I beseech you….PRAY FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Thank you for all who continue to help the dire situation happening in South Africa. Please continue to support those of us who do what we can to help those we can.
PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICA