It’s Child Protection Week in South Africa, and as a society we have not done our job in protecting our children. It is shocking to learn that in the Western Cape in 2017 alone, there were 66 child murders recorded. History tells us there will be another one tomorrow. And possibly another very soon after that. As parents, we can only hope such tragedies don’t find us.
It’s easy to look away from the horrific child murders around us right now. As a parent to a three-year-old daughter myself, I tried to look away from the gruesome details of the Courtney Pieters murder trial.
I couldn’t bear to imagine what her little body had gone through in her final moments, and how much pain she must have been in. It’s easier to look away and move on with life, hoping that justice is meted out to the man who did that to poor Courtney. Mortimer Saunders is his name. Don’t forget it. May his name forever remind us of the depths of depravity humans can sink to. It’s easy to look away from men like Mortimer Saunders. They’re monsters who live among us and yet it’s our society that has created Mortimer Saunders.
We look away from the horrors of child killings until we’re hit in the face with it again in the headlines: the death of another child. This time shot during a botched hijacking while seated in the back seat of her father’s car. Her name was Sadia Sukhraj. She was 9 years old. I wanted to look away again rather than picture the unbearable pain of losing a child. No parent should have to bury their offspring. It seems unnatural and soul-destroying. And yet we live in a time where this is a regular occurrence.
So, when is enough really enough? No, really, when? How many deaths will it take to stop this? Whose death?
We seem to have a high threshold for pain as a country. Maybe our violent past has rendered us numb to our present-day pain. Maybe we get away with it by burying our heads in the sand. By looking away.
Enough, it seems, is never really enough, and we continue to lose girls and boys – the innocent collateral damage in our war with each other.
Poverty and crime are familiar co-conspirators, and their debilitating effects on our communities is evident in the blood of children on our streets. Poverty forces families to live in squalor, in overcrowded, unhygienic makeshift homes – with little protection for children against strangers or criminals. This in a province where the governing party has turned on its own mayor, and the ensuing spat eats up valuable attention that should be paid to housing, unemployment and crime.
Greed and a life of crime made three young men hijack a Durban father taking his daughter to school. And as the community rose in anger at Sadia’s killing, they were cut down by rubber bullets and flying batons from police officers who otherwise seem incapable of any action. A crime-ridden community, in a city where the mayor is accused of money laundering, fraud and corruption. You connect the dots, and when you do, ask yourself again: When is enough really enough? When will we stop looking away?
Picture: Pixabay & Twitter