A violent blue Monday

This morning started out as any other. Perfect blue skies with the promise of spring in the air. Another day in sunny South-Africa.
If I could only hear myself think over the roar of the police helicopter circling above. A couple of blocks from my house a Nigerian drug dealer were killed in the early morning hours. It’s still unknown who killed him and what the motive was. The problem is that suddenly a mob of Nigerians appeared, all armed to the teeth, and are blocking streets and attacking passerby’s and traffic in retaliation for their fallen comrade. Houses were evacuated as this is a suburban area. Police had to flock to the primary school amidst the violence to protect the innocent children.
My house is still far enough away from all of this, but close enough to feel restless (and hear the gunshots). If that isn’t enough excitement for the day, workers at a platinum mine close by decided that today was also the perfect day for an impromptu strike. Roads are closed and police riot vehicles are speeding up and down to contain the situation that could turn into a full scale riot at any second.
I know it’s just another day in South-Africa with the scales balanced precariously between peace and violence.
To make my day even better, we don’t have electricity. Another power outage… Yesterday there was no water…
Service delivery protests have increased from 162 in 2008 to 470 in 2012. I don’t agree with any kind of violence, but I cannot blame people with getting frustrated and tired. I’ve considered dropping my dirty washing and dishes on the steps of the municipality and toi-toi in the streets.
It’s become a way of life here to be without either water or electricity. The masses are tired of poor or no service delivery and the ongoing corruption in our local municipalities. The sad fact is that most of these protests turn violent, with already 7 people killed during these protests this year alone.
Today is a bitter-sweet day for me. A perfect day in one of the most picturesque towns marred by violence and frustration.


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