Put a stop to crime

Desmond Dube

Desmond Dube

Having been raised by a single parent most of my life, I continuously moved from one place to another as my mother's employment so demanded.

I was exposed to many environments and their prevailing mindsets - places such as Kimberley, Hillbrow, Uitenhage, Sebokeng, and Soweto, all of which, at some point, I called home.

Also, while growing up - and travelling - I realised that, concerning problems affecting communities, South Africans failed to be proactive, and were content, and too slow to douse the flames, reacting when it was too late.

The apartheid era is a good example.

I recall, vividly, overhearing some of my relatives referring to our political leaders languishing in jails , and those in exile, as terrorists - an assertion that sought to undermine the gallantry of the fight against oppression.

This is the mentality I believe has bred apathy towards collective efforts to find solutions to our common problems and challenges.

Also, in our tumultuous, fractured past, we were confronted by harsh realities, including the trepidation that engulfed some of us when we ventured into the so-called whites-only areas, or suburbs, for various reasons, including employment.

Many will recall how fearful blacks were to be there, especially at night, contending with curfews, as well as prejudicial whites -and we all know what such encounters entailed.

Then, apartheid resembled the signs of crime as we see it today.

Then, people were afraid to be in the inner cities and suburbs or so-called towns at night because of curfews and the prejudicial clashes.

Today people are afraid to walk around the towns for a different reason - crime. On pay day, workers avoid the inner city lest they expose themselves to rogue elements.

Today the crime element is almost everywhere, interrupting normal life, causing stress, depression and heightening general, and specific, fear.

Surprisingly, people complaining about the high crime levels are usually those who are well-positioned to do something about it, but somehow develop a fear to participate when platforms such as the Million Man March are proposed.

Archbishop Emeritus Mpilo Desmond Tutu once said: "If you're neutral about issues of injustice, then you are taking the side of the oppressor."

Crime, in our case, is the oppressor. So, we all need a new type of unity.

Take note of the iconic poem by holocaust survivor Martin Niemoller:

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, I did not speak out because I am not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionist, I still did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did nothing because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Being neutral is not an option. So, come along.

Join us for the Million Man March United Against Crime - in Pretoria, on June 10.