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Jun 3, 2008
I wrote about the so called xenophobic violence in South Africa before, right? When we hear things like that the first reaction is: Bust it!
No matter who was behind it or what was the political agenda, we need to inject more positive energy into this situation.
So I overcame my inertia and started visiting those hotspots in the vast continent of shackland, meaning the agglomerations of huts, shacks and small houses that surround the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
This is where the competition between immigrants from all over Africa and the disenfranchised locals is really happening.
It is not happening in the boardrooms!
On the bottom level the people feel threatened by energetic foreigners who are hellbent on creating a foothold in South Africa and often overstep the boundaries of "acceptable" behaviour in that process.
So, after all the horrible pictures of violence I expected to find increased misery everywhere. Strangely I was to be very dissappointed on my first 2 excursions. Shackland actually looks much better than 4-5 years ago when I did a first round of gifting those vast expanses.
The first outing was on Friday the 6 of June, covering Henley-on-Klip, (I couldn't resist the temptation of busting the ominous and highly secretive "Oprah Winfrey Leadership academy for girls") Sebokeng and the townships and squatter camps along the "Golden Highway" South of Johannesburg, ending up in Jabulani, Soweto.
No trace of the violence could be seen in those parts. It was as if someone has drowned in the ocean and the waves have closed again to present the same ever-same, ever different pattern of moving waves. Instead I saw lots of new Infrastructure that had been put in in the last few years, and the general appearance was much more neat and prosperous than I had expected and than it had been when I first busted those townships in 2002 and 2003. Strange....
(to be continued)