Thursday, 3 November 2011

Car Got Stolen

Isn't it ironic how my previous (Afrikaans) post was about how much I miss the farm ("Die plaas"); i.e., how I miss South Africa, and then I get the news from my brother that my car in South Africa got stolen yesterday. Now foil this against the post I wrote on Monday ("Lost & Found") about losing my backpack with all its valuables inside here in Korea, but getting it all back intact--not a dime missing. While the possibility of getting things back in Korea is quite high, the possibility for the same thing happening in South Africa is pretty darn small. I have little hope that my car will be found and if it is found I doubt will be worth more than its value in scrap, for the robbers will strip it down to its frame.

Admittedly, it is not a terrible loss for me personally. Since I live in Korea and only visit South Africa for a couple of weeks per year it is not as if I'm using the car regularly. Okay, so it wasn't an expensive car. As a rather old Volkswagen Golf, it is considered an entry level car and is probably worth less than R10 000, based on today's exchange rate that is less than US$1300. 

During my 2009 visit in South Africa I lost a tyre after
I hit a pothole. It was a lovely day to change a tyre,
and I didn't even get robbed, raped or hijacked.
One has to count one's blessings! 
Nonetheless, it is still a loss. It is something that belonged to me and that was taken away from me. Furthermore, I lend my car, which is pretty light on fuel consumption, to my brother whom is going through some financial difficulty. So not only was I stolen from, those I care for are inconvenienced by this crime. 

Now here is the truly disturbing thing. I am thankful that my brother was not in the car when it was stolen, because hijackings in South Africa often lead to the murder of the victim. I am thankful that my family was not harmed and weighed against their lives, I'd gladly give up a car. What is sad about it, is that South Africa is such a criminally violent place that when your car gets stolen without someone being injured or killed in the process, you consider it a blessing. "Hey, my car got stolen. Nobody's dead. What a blessing!" Sadly this is not a joke. I spoke to a South African friend a week ago, who told me of a friend of his who was stabbed to death a few days earlier. The robbers took his cellphone. In South Africa a life is worth a cellphone! For South Africans such crimes are so common that we forget that it is actually abnormal. We live there without thinking it strange. Here in Korea I enter my apartment and immediately lock the door behind me. The force of habit. Most Koreans don't bother. In Korea I'm the strange one for being so over vigilant. In the martial art class when I teach self-defence they think my techniques are overly excessive and I guess in a country like Korea it probably is. 


BoerinBallingskap said...

Ai! Jammer om van die verlies te hoor. Maar soos jy tereg opmerk...Suid-Afrika is nou maar eenmaal Suid-Afrika. Dis hartseer.

Skryfblok said...

Dankie vir jou meegevoel Boer. Dit is inderdaad hartseer -- nie die verlies aan my kar nie, maar die toestand van SA.