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By Kekeletso Nakeli


Even families are danger zones in SA

If your family will not protect you, there’s no expectation that society will be any kinder. This speaks to the brokenness of our society.

Sometimes when danger lurks in shadows, the bogeyman is all too familiar.

When we grew up, we taught of Stranger Danger and Funny Monkeys and to raise the alarm when the unfamiliar dared to come too close for comfort. The unfortunate part of all this is the evolution of the perpetrator.

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The victim and victimiser alike, in rape, murder and assault charges, are those close to us. They are family members who were either raised with us, by us or us by them.

What has become of the family unit that is meant to be the very core of our society?

The Western Cape has recently been dealt a blow with a mother there accused of being her child’s human trafficker.

This is the new face of family in South Africa. How did we get here?

Take a drive 1 470km north and one ends up in the sleepy town of Barberton in Mpumalanga. Here a 62-year-old mother was killed by her two daughters and their boyfriends for a measly payout of R80 000. But not just killed.

Her daughters allegedly held her down for the men to rape and violate her further. What happened to the sanctuary and safety of family?

If your family will not protect you, there’s no expectation that society will be any kinder. This speaks to the broken society that we reside in.

We are broken from the inside out. There is no way we can be healed holistically.

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Our jail cells will remain overcrowded because home is no longer safe. It is no longer a place where our children can grow up within a model of love, care and a relatable sense of family.

Now, family is another hurdle to survive. While rights groups may want to hold government and law enforcement agencies accountable and while we may speak of patriarchy and the abuse of systems and institutions, we must also speak the truth, as uncomfortable as it is.

And that is that the family unit has failed and needs to be guided towards some form of structure. Mothers and fathers are absent, ethics are situational and parenting is lacking.

The family structure continues to break down and while the family may be torn apart by external factors such as alcohol and drug use, and seedy neighbourhood elements like crime and gangsterism, ultimately, our children remain our responsibility.

We must keep doing as much as we can to keep them safe.