Raymond Suttner: Child rape and murder -now in Brakpan. Do we have tools for understanding?

The rape and murder of a young child in Brakpan is another tragedy in contemporary South Africa, happening all too regularly.  What is distinct about this is that it is not happening in a downtrodden, poor black community living in physically dehumanised conditions. This should also make proponents of the ‘virgin myth’ as a reason for child rapes think again.  Clearly the dehumanisation of SA society cannot be restricted to looking at the physical environment of black communities.  We see through this tragedy that we also need to look at those who come from the communities of the (former apartheid ) perpetrators.  These may be people who have been dehumanised in a different way from black people. My sense is we do not yet have tools to analyse what is happening. It is not simple patriarchy, but it is part of the violence that is integral to all the communities of SA.  It has been said that patriarchy is non-racial, but we also need to say that violence is non-racial, part of all communities in SA. We need to find a way of understanding how it manifests itself in these atrocities.To do so requires humility, to acknowledge we do not yet have and need to develop ways of coming to grips with this scourge

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