Sadly, just weeks after I wrote fear in context, Zimbabwean refugees are fleeing back to their country. South Africa's unexpected racism, which I wrote about in Africa-as-everything-bad, has led to South African blacks attacking refugees from ofther African nations. You can read about the current crisis in this BBC news article. You can also read some commentry at Inside South Africa blog. Meanwhile things are hardly growing better in Zimbabwe, with many opposition supporters in hospital.
This latest flare up of violence will, of course, do nothing for the image of South Africa. I've already had a number of people ask me about it. They generally seem to have no understanding of the context, but it reinforces their perceptions of South Africa as a highly dangerous place. One person suggested that there was little difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa. While this is untrue, it natural that people arrive at this conclusion if they only listen to news snippets. The huge differences between the countries are not "newsworthy" in terms of radio or TV news.
I know enough about Africa to realise just how little I do know. Often, TV news and the radio gives us the false impression that they know what is going on in certain countries. I'm sure I've made this mistake many times in the past. Now, after being married to a South African for just a short while, I realise just how simplistic and/or distorted impressions of a country can become. I'm trying to be more wary, and more informed, in my comments about the world. I know next to nothing. Even though I'm constantly learning, that will probably be the case for a long time.