Africa

Siege from Within: Day and Night in Johannesburg

South Africa is not an easy place to minister, despite the apparent normalcy.

I was driving through an area of Johannesburg that, a week earlier, had burned during riots, when I realized I had a flat tire — and I wondered if I should get out and fix it. The fear that grew in my breast as I debated my options made me realize that in many ways South Africa is under siege, a nation at war with itself, and everyone is a victim.

I'm not referring to the recent bout of xenophobia; that is directed at foreigners from countries like Zimbabwe. And I don't mean black/white hostilities, as in the apartheid era. There is still residual racism on both sides in the country, but that is sadly to be expected after so many years of institutional racism.

Today the war is about personal security, and the issue is crime. Depending on whom you talk to, Johannesburg has the first or second highest crime rate in the world. The rest of South Africa is not far behind.

Nearly every South African, black or white, has a mugging story to share. Here are some told to me on this trip:

"I was ...
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December
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