Violence in South Africa

Re: Violence in South Africa (Gwynne Dyer, Page A8 of the Lethbridge Herald, May 25, 2008)

We just came back this weekend from one month trip to Lesotho, Southern Africa, where I taught at a university for seven and a half years during the seventies, and South Africa, which kicked me out forty years ago. I wanted to look up former colleagues and students and old friends. (Desmond Tutu and Njaburo Ndebele now Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, amongst others. I could not see them because there were too busy understandably.) They and many others have done so much for the country and are well respected. South Africa is a success story. Transformation is remarkable. I could not recognize Soweto, for example.

Because the country’s economy is thriving, many foreigners are pouring in. And the government is very generous and does no stop them. Many VIP’s are remembering the days when all African countries accepted all South African refugees during the Apartheid days. Industries love them too, keeping the wages down. The cook of the guest house we stayed in Johannesburg was from Malawi, and the guide who took us around Soweto was a former priest from Congo, etc. They are about four million people in a country of 47 million. They make poor South Africans angry, because they think they rob them of government funded housing and welfare money. But the country itself and industries are not unhappy with them. This is why Thabo Mbeki, President, apologized to the foreigners last Friday. Doesn’t it sound familiar in many other well-to-do countries?

It is true that HIV-AIDS scourge is serious. But unlike our media bias letting us to think that the government is avoiding the issue, the campaign against the pandemic is very vigorous. All in all, South Africa is a success story. I’d love to go back.

May 25, 2008

Lethbridge, Alberta

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