According to most of modern civilisation and the western world South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to visit. We’ve even been nicknamed the rape capital of the world. A sad reality for such a beautiful country. Recently two colleagues on two separate occasions were mugged on their way home from work. This is quite scary as I take the same route to get to the bus station at night. Many foreign tourists are aware of this and rightly so as one needs to be cautious and constantly aware of your surroundings.
It’s interesting that the one thing I was constantly warned about before my trip to Barcelona was to be aware of pickpockets. I have never been mugged (touch wood) in my life and I was going to make sure that it does not happen to me overseas. On our first night one of the girls that was staying at our hostel was pickpocketed. Sadly I think the reason why this did not happen to me is because growing up in Cape Town has already taught me to be vigilant. Bag always in front and hand securely held over bag. It’s a no brainer and I certainly did not have to consciously think about doing this it was as natural to me as breathing. Look left, then right, and then left again and don’t forget to check your blind spot – it’s a little bit like the K53 driving system.
A while ago I was reading about an Argentinian travel blogger’s experiences during the 2010 word cup in South Africa and he explained how he felt constantly fearful and paranoid. When a group of street kids joked and told him they knew the security code to the gates of the hostel he was staying at he stayed up all night on the lookout for a possible break in. I laughed when I read this but then I realised that it not funny at all and that his fear was real. I think I’ve probably become desensitized to all the crime around me.
Despite all the crime – people however fail to mention that most South Africans are warm, kind, friendly and generous to assist others. The reality is no matter where you travel to it is always best to exercise caution and use your common sense.