Friday, 22 June 2007

The other side of the fence

Of course there is another side to the story on every street corner and the further we stray from the touristy areas of Cape Town – Robben Island, Table Mountain, the craft markets, beaches – the more we see of the disparity of opportunity that keeps at bay the social harmony most of us take for granted.

This settlement (known variously as "the township", shantytown, slum, ghetto) is an endless, grim sea of misery just east of the Cape and, ironically, within walking distance of one of the loveliest beaches around. At my request, Doog drove us in here but I couldn’t bring myself to train the camera on any of the people we came across because that kind of gawky tourism they can surely do without.

No doubt there is a certain sense of community that breeds and thrives in such close quarters but suffice to say that places like these – where prostitutes chat amiably on the roadside and people must walk to an open field to go to the toilet in one of these horrible concrete blocks – do little to further the chances of a child who wants more out of life.

It’s horribly sad to see, and it must be incredibly dangerous to live here. There are an average 18,000 murders a year in South Africa, and untold thousands upon thousands of rapes. I feel hopelessly inadequate, a rich white tourist, and I’m again left to ponder the injustices of the random circumstance of birth.


Gracde and Geoff said...

Hi guys,
looks like you're having a tough time!! Nice do Doogy. If you get a chance Nancy and you haven't already read Mandela's autobiography, read it. incredible story! Great game on Saturday, the Wallabies nearly did it!!!! hopefully the Kiwis and Boks will smash the s*!t out of each other then the wallabies can be triumphant at the MCG next saturday. C'mon Aussie! Love you guys, miss you heaps. Love Taz & Grace

Nancy Harper said...

Tas & Grace,
Miss you guys too! Just getting over the Durban test. doog cried like a baby. OMG! It was amazing.
love ya