So close to escaping hellhole of Jo'burg
By Chris Rattue, New Zealand Herald
4:00 AM Thursday Jun 24, 2010
Fencing covered by razor wire is seen outside the main press centre next to Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Photo / AP
One way or other, the All Whites will be out of this hellhole in days, and we will be off with them.
To Durban, probably, or home, and quite honestly, preferably the latter in some ways.
Johannesburg is an eye-opener, in a way that makes you want to shut the eyes tight and dream of elsewhere.
This is the most dangerous dump I have ever been in.
Sepp Blatter and his superstar Fifa mates may have been right to bring the World Cup to Africa, but they will be enjoying a luxury ride.
Blatter hasn't had to wait outside Ellis Park in the dark, surrounded by people, police cars driving by, hoping the promised van turns up before violent robbers do.
The stories I have heard of life here are heartbreaking, tragic, awful.
We have met some wonderful people, without a doubt.
We have also met wonderful people with doubt, because you quickly learn never to trust.
One in our contingent has had his credit card skimmed, probably by the smiling, waving bloke at our only regular cafe.
And while trying to get money out of an ATM, a hand that came with a happy face suddenly grabbed the card, supposedly with the offer of help. Sure.
And don't step out of your compound at night alone. Don't even think about it.
Our van driver took us to a posh shopping mall he said was safe, except for the carpark.
This is a place where you look over your shoulder, without making eye contact.
As for the stories ... I don't know how people live here. They say they become immune.
Hitlers Thoughts on the Vuvuzela...
The include a man whose wife was stabbed for a cellphone, had a friend shot and paralysed in her driveway and a mate taken on a carjack ride.
There's a motorway off-ramp that was once more like a shooting gallery for robbers. People are left for dead, or needing wheelchairs.
How is the World Cup coming across at home? It's all about the soccer, I suppose.
Not when you are here, though.
We have been through a magic ride with the All Whites in and around Jo'burg and, on leaving, it will be for the last time.
» » » » [NZ Herald, via SA Sucks]
A murderous mayhem is brewing
Jeremy Gordin, Politicsweb
24 June 2010 (Excerpts)
But one of the oddest things to emerge from the world cup this week was the comment allegedly made by Jacob G Zuma after the Bafana/Arsenal B match on Tuesday night.
According to the report I heard, Zuma said that, now that Bafana are out, we Seffricans must support the African teams, and if they all disappear (as they might in the next 75 minutes - I'm writing this during the German-Ghana game), then we must support the South Americans because they're from the southern hemisphere, as are we.
And if the South Americans disappear (which they won't - but if they do), then are we supposed to support the Europeans because they're the only ones left? What is this? The old south-north struggle? The war of the hemispheres? Sometimes JGZ should think before he speaks.
But enough football talk for the nonce.
Until recently, say four-five weeks ago, when my car radio gave up the ghost, I spent a fair amount of time, while doing the early morning school shuttle, listening to John "don't call me Robbie" Robbie on Radio 702 - carrying on about the possibility of new xenophobic attacks.
I have written "carrying on" because I found it irritating - and irresponsible. Why keep putting things into people's heads if they aren't there? Why raise issues that don't need raising? Why sew panic?
But it seems that I might have been the arse.
A focused look across the news of the last three weeks or so shows that xenophobia has raised its ugly, ugly head again, so much so that the government has re-established an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) to deal with xenophobic attacks against foreigners during or soon after the world cup.
"The IMC will liaise with civil society structures to ensure that a country-wide approach is adopted to prevent any form of violence against anyone," cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko said.
"Government," he added, "would like to re-iterate that any attacks are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to act speedily and decisively against anyone found to incite or participate in violent acts against foreign nationals."
Most chillingly - for me, anyway - was a conversation I had yesterday with a Wits student who is part of the "2010 football newsroom" that I am news editing at Wits' Journalism school (www.witsvuvuzela.2010.co.za).
She hails from Limpopo and went last weekend to visit some relatives living in Diepsloot. There she interviewed some locals who said they were going to "attack" foreigners as soon as the world cup was over.
I said to her that I wasn't happy with running a story in which unidentified people made these "hate" claims about what they would do later to foreigners living in their community.
"I mean, this is serious tuff we're talking about. The last time this happened, there were 62 people murdered," I said.
"I know," she said - and then told me the background story to her interviews.
She had encountered a huge crowd that had gotten hold of a young Zimbabwean. Crowd members claimed they had caught him stealing soccer tops from a vendor - and they beaten him to a pulp.
"Blood was running his face when they took him away, I was very frightened," she said to me.
"Taking him where?" I asked.
"Some of the kids who went with the crowd told me later that he had been killed. They told me that they were killing people like that Zimbabwean almost every day."
"Weren't there any policemen around?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied, "they arrived later, after it was over. I believe that what happens is that the police make sure that they arrive late in Diepsloot. If they intervened and tried to save the victim, the crowd would attack them - and they're frightened of that."
Her story had, alas, the ring of truth. It seems that while our police are being coerced into worrying about young women in orange mini-skirts or irascible English fans going to talk to their team in the changing rooms, serious, murderous mayhem is brewing again.
Maybe we're not as far as we like to think from Saigon, Kabul or Baghdad or from Algiers in the late 1950s.
» » » » [Politicsweb]