Christopher Hope’s article about violence in South Africa
This article that was published on the Mail & Guardian’s website on the 1st of March portrays some interesting insight to the Oscar Pistorius case and the way in which gun use occurs in our country. Hope has made several points about our society and its link to violence. It is distressing that just because of the fact that Oscar Pistorius is a celebrity, his case makes news headlines internationally and causes a stir nationwide. Although it is also a tragic case of a young woman whose life had to end in such a sudden and awful way, there are many cases that end with a woman meeting her fatal death at the hands of violence.
Reeva Steenkamp was a beautiful and successful woman and her family are suffering everyday thinking about the devastating way in which they lost her. It is another story to add to many of women being victims of gender based violence. Even though Pistorius claims he thought it was an intruder, at the end of the day an innocent woman lost her life. Hope makes a point in his article, stating that the only reason this caused such a public reaction was because of the people that were involved. It seems as if the public and the media would not have cared as much, or made such a fuss about the incident, if it had been just “another shooting somewhere in South Africa”.
We as a society have become so used to seeing news that relates to murder, rape and violence, that it is as if nothing shocks us anymore. Violence is normalized in our country and this is the problem. Hope mentions that guns are “on the brain” as they are everywhere in South Africa, even though the law regarding firearms is strict. Even if it is just the fact that we feel the need to have a weapon in order to protect ourselves, it still shows that willingness to kill. Hope makes the statement that “celebrity always trumps tragedy”, and although the Oscar Pistorius’s case was tragic, the only reason why it caused such a frenzy is because of who he is. This whole idea of this heroic Paralympic athlete who was seen as an inspiration to many South Africans, and people all over the world, had this terrible fall from grace and that is what was so “embarrassing”, as Hope puts it.
It is important to view this incident not just as Pistorius’s loss of reputation, but also as a symbol of all the violence that takes place in our country. It should raise awareness to the fact that South Africa is a culture of violence and stimulate thought and bring about activism and change.