Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

the brutal face of crime and poverty and desperation and violence on a beautiful Cape Town morning

It’s only 09h10 and I haven’t even gone to rehearsals yet, but I am shaken and headachy. Big Friendly says it’s from the adrenalin. On the corner of our tiny road in Woodstock there is a block of crumbling, ancient flats that is getting a bit of a make-over. The work is haphazard and messy, with men and dust and banging. It’s the usual; a make-shift team of foreign illegal labour, doing their best to make a few Rand.

This morning the workers caught an itinerant somebody rifling through their clothes. Apparently, yesterday some workers’ clothes were stolen. When he tried to run away they caught him and started beating him. Big Friendly went to stop them from killing him while I called 10111. What a joke. As I put the phone down I realised it had been a total waste of time and I found the number for, and called the Woodstock police station, panicking the whole time for Big Friendly. The Woodstock police station is not even four blocks away from us. Still, it took four phone calls and over half an hour for a ‘lorrie’ to get here. Every couple of minutes the workers would get disgruntled and want to hit him again. Every few minutes I called and was either bitched at by the call answerer at the police station, or put on hold while he took another call. When the van finally got here they took him away. I’m convinced he wouldn’t have survived if they hadn’t.

It’s just so sad. The poorest of the poor are being robbed by the even poorer. There is no faith in the law, or justice or policing. When the police arrived all the workers scattered. They are also breaking the law by being illegal immigrants. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been for them that what they are suffering now is better.


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  1. Jason

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I’m a believer in “innocent until proven guilty” but on the other hand I think that South Africa is renowned the world over as being a crime-ridden country and it’s about time that we start taking the law into our own hands to defend our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and yes, even strangers.

    If I rob some lady in Claremont of her handbag and the community catches me and beats me to death, I think I deserved it. She could’ve had her pension money in her handbag that contributes to her grandchilds HIV / AIDS medication and who am I to rob her, her family, the government and the citizens of South Africa.

    If somebody rapes my mother and shoots my father, I feel I should be let off with a reward and a medal for killing the perpetrator. The less scum there is on our streets the better.

    I for one am sick of hearing about the terrible crime statistics in our democratic society.

    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    Not only are the police slow in reacting, but try going to a government hospital, or getting an ambulance to your house once you’ve been shot.

    If you want the police to react quickly, report a shooting where you need them. We’re resorting to lies to get a quick reaction time from our public servants.

  2. megan

    Jason, I totally hear what you are saying, but you are wrong. Violence is wrong. Hitting somebody with a piece of metal is wrong. Yes, it is borne out of frustration, helplessness, anger and desperation but it is wrong. I understand why it happens, but it is still wrong. And witnessing any kind of violence is hideous, regardless of who did what and why.

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