42 dead. 237 arrested. More than 600 in the hospital with gunshot wounds, knife wounds, broken bones, various other traumas. More than 700 homes and shops destroyed in townships around Johannesburg. Violence spreading to other cities and parts of the country. The latest flareups taking place in Kwa-Zulu Natal in the east, Mpumalanga in the north, and threats of more violence in the East Cape. Sadly, that’s the score card that most of the media is reporting. Numbers – not people.
The media also reports the main cause is “xenophobia.” People are upset that immigrants from other countries are undermining the gains made by unions for a decent or at least existence wage, and by willing to accept less are taking away jobs. They have homes while good South Africans have waiting lists for homes. They have CD players and TVs while they must go to a relative’s home or a friend’s place to watch TV. It’s beginning to sound a lot more complex than just “xenophobia.” But the media here likes labels and lots and lots of alphabet soup.
The SANDF has been called in by the ANC government to enter and subdue unrest in the Johannesburg CBD. Got it? Good.
Must go think about things some more. Must go pack for a long trip tomorrow to another country, more stories. The long bus ride will give me plenty of time to think and to write.