Monday, June 19, 2006

South Africans: Tough

At the weekend a 21-year-old Zimbabwean national took an air waitress hostage on an SAA flight, holding a syringe to her neck and demanding he be let into the cockpit or she would die. An off-duty SAA pilot and two other passengers promptly tackled him, bore him to the ground, and beat him senseless. Then they handcuffed him and tied him to a seat, before turning back to land at Cape Town International. One thing you can say for living in a society as violent as South Africa - we don't scare easy.

Last week I read an article about an Irish couple who had been cycling through Africa raising AIDS awareness. They'd been through many of the poorest countries on earth, including war-torn Sudan, on their six-month trek, but it wasn't until they hit South Africa that their experience soured. They took a night off and went to the Suncoast Casino in Durban to see a movie, parking their rental car in a 'secure' parking lot. They were gone for only a short while, discovering that there was nothing showing they wanted to see and returning to the car immediately. They discovered the car had been broken into, and among the valuables stolen were their digital camera, the woman's handbag with all the usual contents as well as all the jewelry they'd purchased from various countries on the trip, and a removable hard drive with over 25,000 photos from the last six months. They say they'll return to Africa, but never to South Africa. And my first thought is, who is stupid enough to leave a camera, a handbag and a harddrive in a car? Here, we're pleasantly surprised when we get back to our car and it's still there, never mind anything you may have left inside it. I suppose we're just desensitized, but it's almost inconceivable for me to leave something of any value in my car, regardless of how safe the area appears to be. It must be nice to live in a country where you can do something like that and expect your things to be there when you return. Here, you're on your guard all the time or you may as well be walking around with a sign saying 'victim'.

Speaking of how tough life can be here, I always chuckle when people talk about the danger posed by Killer Africanized Honeybees. In SA, we have Killer Africanized Honeybees, only we just call them 'bees'. They kill people too, but only those stupid enough to think that a sangoma chanting some mumbo-jumbo is going to be enough to protect you from them when you're trying to steal their hive. Or those who crash their car into the structure that is currently housing a hive. Or try to remove them from pipes without professional assistance.

I think the next FIFA world cup is going to be interesting. I can't wait to see English soccer hooligans meet Sowetan soccer hooligans, or soccer hooligans from Mitchell's plain. I think we have a thing or two to teach them about violence, plus the tourists are going to be easy pickings for the local 'entrepreneurs'. It's going to be hilarious.


Blogger Andrew said...

I'm not certain about violence. The english soccer hooligans don't get to travel anymore.

But an anecdote to back you up - my Art Director's father had a American priest who he knew from his "killing-people-for-a-living day" visit him in his gun store when he came to SA.

He (the priest) working in combating gangsterism in the "barrios" of LA. He famously boasted he nevered needed a gun.

A week in the cape flats and he bought a shotgun, a hand gun and a little holdout popgun.

Also, weren't they meant to be cycling? What's with this rent-a-car laziness?

June 19, 2006 9:05 PM  
Anonymous mr angry said...

ahahahahah of course you don't call africanised bees "africanised. What do you call non-african bees? Wussy little loser bees? And yeah, leaving irreplaceable valuables in a car is a sign of an idiot.

June 20, 2006 6:11 AM  
Blogger totalwaste said...

mr angry - 100%: WLLBs. or ours... Weapons of Mass Beestruction.

anyway, thanks moonflake - your news beats all as usual :D

June 20, 2006 6:33 AM  
Blogger moonflake said...

andrew: sounds about right! an american was in zenstar's dad's shop once, saying he didn't know why people in SA complain about violence, because in the US everyone knows someone who's been a victim of crime. Zen's dad asked around the shop who had been a victim of crime in the last year, and every single customer put up their hand. We don't just know someone, we all have firsthand experience. Personally i've had my car broken into about 7 times, my car stolen, and my house broken into, all in the last 5 years.

mr angry: we don't import bees, the ones we have are bad enough. We also have man-eating crocodiles, which i believe you ozzies may have an appreciation for.

tw: always happy to bring news of the homeland to a successful escapee!

June 20, 2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Yup. No room for weaklings in Africa.

June 20, 2006 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Snowball said...

On the subject of bees. "africanised" bees are the wussy euro bees crossed with african ones, work harder more honey. BUT amungst african bees the is one particularly aggressive and nasty strain and nature gave them the double wammy of having the slightly more toxic sting to go with their lovely temprament. Its called the CAPE BEE, most agressive and most stingy of the whole lot.
Like ya said, we just call them Bees and we know not to piss them off cos they sting and sting lots.

p.s. they kill ya by inducing an allergic reaction, so you swell up and this constricts breathing passageway. OOPs ive been stung, GAG cant breath, CROAK!!

June 20, 2006 11:15 AM  
Blogger Bast said...

I saw an ad on TV the other night for the Vodacom Challenge ( Man U are playing against Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. The madness!!

June 22, 2006 11:11 AM  

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