Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Yesterday morning I was woken, well not woken exactly, my neighbour incessant knocking dragged me me downstairs as her car would not start. Her name is "Alleluia" and it's Angolan, and nothing to do with Leonard Cohen, and even if it did, I would say it was due to Jeff Buckley as the Cohen original just isn't my bag at all, but I'm off on a tangent again. I went out to help, and after fining that she had asked, and no one had jumper cables, I said to her do you know how to jump start a car? Four pushes up and down the road proved she didn't and as I was close to a heart attack, I stopped. I asked her if she had spoken to the other neighbours? she hadn't so I did and eventually found some jumper cables.
This got me thinking, a few years ago when I still lived in Johannesburg, in an affluent suburb called Northcliff, I remember always feeling under siege while there, we where shocked by what appeared to be the random shooting of a 16 year old school girl in her drive way. The neighbourhood was shocked and there was a lot of interest, and a close eye was kept on the investigation by the media, but our understaffed, underpaid, underfunded and uneducated police force could simply not solve the case. The devastated family then turned to a *retired detective Piet Beyleveld who in a few months had found that the house next door was being used as a meth lab and that the young girl was shot as a warning, but the hit man got the wrong address.
I see you are asking what the hell have those stories got to do with anything? so I will ask you a question, you behind your walls and locks, how well do you know your neighbour? Do you even know your neighbour? The problem is that we have been conned into believing that we should protect ourselves, take care of yourself, but the fact of the matter is that if you looked out for your neighbour and he looked out for you, you're protected, and soon the neighbourhood is taking care of itself. I hear the neigh Sayer's now "High walls make for good neighbours" that's what you are made to believe, when the truth is, that if something were to happen to you and you need immediate help, who's closest to you? who can get to you soonest?
We self police due to the serious lack of a police force that can be trusted, so why can't we extend a hand to our neighbours, and draw the community closer, instead of isolated walled homes as refuges, that we cower behind.
I'm going to say hello to mine today, cause I'm done with pushing a car up and down when my neighbour had jumper cables.

*Retired due to pressure buy the ANC government for the Police to be Black Empowered.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thats exactlly one thing that bothered me an Oliver when we we´re living in SA.
    But to be honest, in Germany most people don´t know their neighbor at all. But we´re not locked behind security systems.
    In case of an emergency I would never hesitate to ask a neighbor for help.

    I hope things will change in SA.


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