Sunday, August 23, 2009

In South Africa "violence is the point of the crime"

Grammar of violence (Mail & Guardian)


In South Africa "violence is the point of the crime ...
rationalised as avenging inequality."

Another fatal robbery -- this time the murder of a Johannesburg northern suburbs mother who was shot dead when her hi-fi and television were stolen -- has raised questions about the violence of crime in South Africa.

Tracy-Leigh Frankish was found in her bedroom on Sunday, apparently killed execution-style with a bullet to the head. Robbers, who had been scared off by her screams five days earlier, had returned to complete the job.

In South Africa "violence is the point of the crime", Time Magazine Africa bureau chief Alex Perry said earlier this year. "In a society where violence, until recently, was part of the grammar of politics, it can still be rationalised as avenging inequality."

"Inequality reinforces feelings of inadequacy, which may contribute to feelings of hopelessness and anger," said David Bruce, senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. The "psychological legacy of apartheid" is also a factor, he said.

Violence is ingrained in South Africans from childhood, said Barbara Holtmann, senior manager of the CSIR's Crime Prevention Centre. "We are seeing the result of children growing up with the normalisation of violence, neglect and abuse, where physical contact is not about love and nurture but is instead about conflict and habitual violence." One result is evident in the fact that five million children were included in the state's child protection system last year, said Holtmann.

Children grow up lacking the capacity for empathy and "the healthy inhibitions against extreme violence appear to be absent", said Craig Higson-Smith, a researcher with the South African Institute for Traumatic Stress.

Easily available firearms and high levels of alcohol, and what Bruce describes as an environment of prominent consumption, where material items are "markers of worth or status", add fuel to this violent fire.

The criminal justice system alone cannot address the problem. "This is something that requires a whole society response," says Holtmann. "We tend to look to the police for solutions to crime and violence, yet departments such as social development, education, health and transport have equally important roles to play."

The government needs to re-assess its investing priorities. "We have more than 190 000 police but less than 12 000 social workers," says Holtmann. Also needed are "real prospects for advancement for young people and rehabilitating first-time offenders of relatively minor crimes before they commit more serious crimes", says Higson-Smith.

10 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

Excellent post. You are obviously suitably refreshed after your holiday!

FishEagle said...

I'm sorry but I stopped paying attention after "Inequality reinforces feelings of inadequacy...." It helps stuff all to try to understand the behaviour of the perpetrators. It's much more important to understand the relationships between the perpetrators and the victims.

FishEagle said...

OK, maybe I'm just one step ahead but in the meantime, people are losing lives.

Anonymous said...

They say that a person with a hammer sees the world in terms of things that need hammering.

So what else do you expect from the CSVR other than "access to firearms is too easy" and we need "more social workers, less police", seeing as it employs the same liberal bitch Adele Kirsten who headed gun free SA a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

You sow hate and then reap hate. Ask the ANC about their 'one settler one bullet' utterings. 'Killing for Zuma, blood in the courts, make it ungovernable'. What do you expect the nett result to be?

Some people are so fucking stupid even when they have high levels of formal education.

Dachshund said...

@FE: When are we getting that report from the committee on Justice, Crime Prevention and Security that was promised by Charles "shut up whitey" Nqakula in 3 years ago on the real reasons for violent crime as called for by the FF+?

Never, because the truth is too unpalatable. The issue has everything to do with overpopulation and that the ANC fully supports Mugabe's plan to decimate Zim's black population to an acceptable level because the same needs to be done here.

The agenda is that whites must be wiped out, because never again do Africans want whites meddling with the laws of nature.

FishEagle said...

Dach, if you put it like that I'm almost tempted to support the ANC. Not!!

Anonymous said...

Just read last week's happenings here in Hout Bay, with only 30.000 people:

http://houtbayblogroll.blogspot.com/

We probably have more crime per capita than anywhere else.

These are only what has been registered by the police.

Viking said...

@Anon 6:44am

your blog is excellent! Will follow it. Hope you'll visit again.

Viking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.