It’s the Same Everywhere…No One is Coming to Save You

South Africa shooting violent crime
Curious onlookers behind a police cordon, where ten people from the same family were shot dead Friday, April 21, 2023. Police say 10 people were “ambushed” by unknown gunmen at a home in the city of Pietermaritzburg in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. (AP Photo)

“I’m not a fortune teller – I never know when I will be attacked,”…YouTube content creator [Penson Mlotshwa] told the BBC.

“Unfortunately, I’ve had to use my gun multiple times to protect myself,” he sighs, explaining how a man wanting his wallet pulled a knife on him after dinner one night.

He drew his gun and made the mugger hand over the pocket knife, which he threw in the gutter. He did not fire the weapon.

Mr Mlotshwa says his guns – he would not disclose how many he owned – are strictly for protection, a job he feels the police and government have failed dismally at.

Johannesburg resident Lynette Oxley agrees and says such dangers must be faced head on.

She has set up an initiative to train women to protect themselves through gun ownership.

“I’d rather buy a new gun, than a pair of shoes,” the 57-year-old Johannesburg resident, who owns 12 firearms, told the BBC.

Her organisation, Girls on Fire, mostly helps women who have been raped, attacked, robbed, or experienced some level of violence. The country’s rate of sexual violence is among the highest in the world.

One woman joined up after her husband was shot in front of her – she was pregnant at the time – and her six-year-old child during a home robbery.

“People are realising that we are on our own,” says Ms Oxley, a gun instructor. “Gun culture in South Africa is about self-defence and necessity.”

—   Danai Nesta Kupemba in South Africa’s Deadly Love Affair With Guns

9 Responses

  1. I like how in stories like this the people wishing to arm themselves in self-defense are portrayed as sketchy, paranoid, delusional and dangerous while the perps they seek to protect themselves from, who are also armed, are merely mentioned as some ethereal catalyst absent of form.

    Sort of like: “fearing the eschaton this sect of religious extremists sacrifice goats daily.”

  2. Curious how the police vehicle in the photo has a phone number on it under the words “Crime Stop”. I guess calling the number summons the safety fairies and stops the crime being committed?

    (In my best Buddy The Elf voice…)

    “What’s a Crime Stop? I want one!”

  3. I didn’t know you could obtain guns lawfully for self defense in South Africa. I assumed it was like Europe and largely impossible.

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  7. Personally, I enjoyed the photojournalism aspect of it, as it just as easily could have been another paint-by-numbers war film. It also shows a potential future where each side reaches their breaking point and conflict does ensue.

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