SA tourist killing makes world news
News of the killing of a British tourist was all over the United Kingdom media on Monday morning, with newspapers reminding readers of South Africa’s high car hijacking and murder rates.
The Daily Mail website announced the story with the headline: “Honeymoon horror: Newlywed Briton’s wife is killed after robbers hijack them in taxi”.
It reported that Anni Dewani (28) and “millionaire businessman” Shrien Dewani (30) were from Bristol and were married two weeks ago.
The Daily Mail said after they had supper in the “upmarket suburb of Somerset West” on Saturday night, the couple decided to “experience the nightlife” in Gugulethu township.
“Their route back to central Cape Town would have taken them past some of the city’s ramshackle townships, which house many of the city’s poorest black population,” reported the paper.
“While the townships are generally considered no-go areas for tourists, some of their restaurants and bars have gained a reputation as lively places to eat and drink.
“It is believed that, as they drove past the Gugulethu township, the couple decided to take a diversion into the area to experience the night life.”
The couple was hijacked and while the husband was dropped off unharmed, his wife’s body was found in the car a few hours later.
The Daily Mail said: “South Africa has one of the worst crime rates in the world, but most problems occur in the poorest areas where tourists are unlikely to stray.”
Tourists ‘rarely’ crime victims
The Guardian also reported on the story, saying that tourists were “rarely” crime victims in South Africa.
“South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with an average of 46 murders a day. The majority take place in townships, and tourists are rarely the victims,” said the paper.
“A huge increase in security for this summer’s World Cup helped ensure there were few serious incidents.
“Last year, there were 13 902 carjackings in South Africa, down from 14 915 in 2008-09. The annual murder rate fell by 8,6% to dip below 17 000 for the first time since nationwide records began in 1995-96,” reported the Guardian.
The BBC and the Telegraph also reported on the incident, which drew many comments from online readers.
“Jules”, from California in the United States, said of South Africans on the Daily Mail website: “The bottom line is until these people decide to help themselves, nothing will change.”
“Austin”, also from the United States, added: “Of all the beautiful places in the world, WHY would anyone in their right minds go for a honeymoon in such a vile, god-forsaken place?”
Several expatriates commented from Australia, saying they had left South Africa to ensure safe lives for their children, and that the country was a “mess”.
South African-based readers, however, were less sympathetic.
“What the ‘frikkadel’ [meat ball] were they doing in a township?,” asked Carina on news24.com.
“If I go to another country I wouldn’t go into their slums and expect to be safe. Now the whole of Cape Town gets a bad rep,” she added.
Roger Pacey, an M&G reader, said “being in Gugulethu at 11pm on a Saturday night sounds too much like living dangerously for my liking. Whoever gave them the notion that they would be safe has a lot to answer for.” - Sapa