BBC Africa editor Fergal Keane visits South Africa's conservative rural areas nearly 25 years after white-minority rule ended, and finds that racism is still deeply embedded but there are also symbols of racial reconciliation. It was a young boy who noticed us and ran to tell his father. Around 10 years old, blond-haired and barefoot, he rushed indoors. The child looked scared. It was dusk and we were strangers. I caught sight of him in the rear-view mirror as we drove along the dirt road that ran past the tall steel fence that encircled their home. Maybe 10 minutes later, a car approached from behind. Headlights flashed, beckoning us to stop. Revolver on hipWe pulled up within a few yards of each other. It was an old car, a Toyota from the 1990s. Beaten and rusted, it is a vehicle of the rural poor. A young white man got out. He wore a baseball cap pulled down over his forehead and his right hand sat on the revolver strapped to his hip. There was a young woman with a baby on her lap … [Read more...] about South Africa’s ‘toxic’ race relations
South Africans have been outraged by a spate of gruesome rapes and murders of women in recent weeks - including that of a schoolgirl who reportedly had her head staved in, and a university student who was bludgeoned to death. The rapes and murders have led to street protests, the #AmINext campaign on Twitter, and an online petition signed by more than 500,000 to demand the reinstatement of the death penalty in a nation battling to curb high levels of crime. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a series of measures to tackle the crisis - including making public a register of offenders, increasing the number of "dedicated sexual offences courts", and harsher sentences. Photographer Sarah Midgley, a 37-year-old mother of two who lives in the main city Johannesburg, is still recovering from the trauma of being raped almost a decade ago.She told BBC Africa Women's Affairs reporter Esther Akello Ogola about her ordeal. I was raped by my ex-boyfriend in 2010, just … [Read more...] about Sexual violence in South Africa: ‘I was raped, now I fear for my daughters’
Sexual offences and murder rates have risen significantly in South Africa over the past year, according to new official crime figures.Murders recorded by the police have been rising every year for the last decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen 4.6% this year.The release of the figures comes amid growing concern about violence against women after a number of high-profile rape cases and murders in recent weeks.Thousands of people took to the streets earlier this month to protest against the attacks.Which crimes are getting worse?Among sexual offences, sexual assault increased by 9.6% and rape by 3.9%For crimes detected by the police as a result of their own activities (rather than reported by the public) there was a 19% increase in recorded sexual offences.Crimes with the biggest increases*Sexual assault not including rapeSource: South Africa national crime statistics There were also increases in arson (5.5%), attempted murder (4.1%) and common assault (3.7%).And there … [Read more...] about South Africa crime: Police figures show rising murder and sexual offences
Helen Zille, former leader of South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), has publicly apologised for her tweets saying there were some positive aspects of colonialism.She said her comments in March were "insensitive to South Africans". Ms Zille will step down from all party leadership positions but remain the premier of Western Cape province. The row threatened the DA's popularity, which is trying to extend its appeal among black people.Party leader Mmusi Maimane said the deal will help DA focus on the 2019 general election. Africa Live: Updates on this and other African stories Who is Helen Zille Tweets undermine South Africa's opposition He said the party chose to avoid a protracted legal battle and instead seek reconciliation. Ms Zille had tweeted that colonialism was not only negative: The comments caused public outrage forcing her to apologise at least three times with the DA bowing to political pressure to suspend her last week. She said in an interview last week … [Read more...] about South Africa’s Helen Zille makes unreserved apology for tweets
"Genoeg is genoeg." Enough is enough. That was the message on Monday, as (mostly white) activists carried crosses and blocked roads to demand better protection for South Africa's farms, after they were targeted in a spate of murders. The South African Police Service has argued that the majority of attackers are motivated purely by a desire to rob farmers, but the country's Institute of Race Relations has warned there may be a racial element to some of the attacks.There's a sense in some quarters that white farmers are being targeted in particular. Many have claimed in recent weeks that South Africa's farmers are more likely to be murdered than the average South African.Neither of the claims above is supported by reliable data. So what does the evidence say?More farm murdersAccording to the best available statistics, farm murders are at their highest level since 2010-11.South Africa's Police Service says 74 people were murdered on farms between April 2016 and March 2017, up from 58 in … [Read more...] about Are protesters right on South Africa farm murder rate?