Siyabonga Ntshingila
Siyabonga Ntshingila

Oh Annelie, what were you thinking?

So author Annelie Botes has caused a storm with her recent comments over crime and black people.

Now I agree with Mrs Botes on some of her points. Most contact crimes in South Africa are perpetrated by black people. Note I explicitly said contact crimes because the debate over which crimes are more damaging to a country (poverty and social-issue driven crimes like robbery, murder and rape or “behind-the-scenes” white-collar crime like fraud and corruption, especially the under-reported scourge of private-sector fraud and embezzlement) could go on all night. That is not the debate here.

Botes is concerned about violent contact crime. And in her mind she equates that with blacks. Is she wrong? No. And it would be hard for contact crime not to be associated with black people in SA — 80% of the country is black. At least 90% of the poor, unemployed, uneducated, hungry people in SA are black. The ridiculously overwhelming majority of people who grew up in violent, broken communities and in a context where social norms were warped and distorted by a greater national context of oppression, dehumanisation and exploitation are black.

So where are your criminals going to come from if not black people. I wager that if I were to look at crimes of greed such as corporate fraud, large-scale drug smuggling and hijacking syndicates and extortion, you’d find the numbers somewhat at odds with the national demographics. You did not see many black witnesses in trials involving the likes of Glenn Agliotti and the Paparas family. And that is just a natural consequence of our history and context. Maybe as black people become more educated, skilled and think beyond the immediate context, which has so often been their mental prison, maybe then we’ll dominate those crimes too.

Fact is anywhere in the world violent contact crime is a result of backgrounds lacking in education, employment, opportunity and social cohesion. If you want to find the violent muggers, robbers and rapists anywhere in the world, find that demographic. In my nightmares about being hijacked in SA, it’s not a white guy holding the gun to my window. But you bet your ass it would be in Birmingham or Brixton. And you best believe if someone knocks me out from behind and takes my wallet in a New Delhi alley, the assailant in my mind would not have short, curly, kinky hair.

Now, an important question becomes whether Botes’s mooted move to England is motivated by a desire to get away from crime or a desire to get away from black people. England is no better than SA when it comes to violent crime per capita. Yet she cannot wait to get there. Which tells me she is racist, and not only that but she is probably not the best at logical reasoning. I would guess that she uses her experiences and perception of crime to justify racial preconceptions.

Ask a pensioner in Liverpool to describe a hoodlum to you and they will more likely than not be white. Does that make whites inherently dangerous? She says: “The English villages where my kids live don’t even have streetlights and I would walk there in the middle of the night without fear.” Big shock there, affluent sparsely populated areas suffer less crime per capita than urban areas. Never would have seen that coming Mevrou.

Now if she is racist, I am not too fazed. It is hard not to have racial prejudices in a country such as ours. It is damn nearly impossible, in fact. So I would not judge her, or anyone for that fact in isolation. What I would judge her for, is an apparent inability/unwillingness to apply her mind to what she sees. I cannot imagine that she has a background where she received an inferior education and was denied a life where she was free to explore her thoughts and the teachings of others. She is a published, best-selling writer, so to me using her mind cannot be something she struggles with. She maybe just isn’t willing to use it here. And for that, I judge her.

I would like to know from her what her reaction would be she when she got to the UK, she became a victim of crimes perpetuated by broke, unemployed, illiterate white males from broken homes. Where would she move to then? Sri Lanka? And what would she make of the Tamil Tigers then? Australia and its rising yob and drug culture?

We should never hide from the fact that violent crime in SA is mostly perpetuated by blacks. That’s a pretty obvious demographical slam dunk. But it’s very dangerous and very stupid (and the good Lord knows I despise stupidity with an irrational passion) to then infer some sort of inherent nature about people from that. And stupidity is a very dangerous thing.

I hope Mev Botes is not stupid.

  • Sub Judice

    I have to agree with you 100%. Generalising about the perpetrators of crime, and generalising about a whole group of people based on their skin colour, is just plain wrong. Black people are in many cases the victims of most of the ‘contact crime’, and often receive less attention from the media and the police when suffering from crime. Stereotypes help nobody, least of all the victims of crime.

  • Wondering

    Great article!

  • mallencolly

    Mostly very well written. Best comment in this episode ive seen so far, but…

    “England is no better than SA when it comes to violent crime per capita.”

    ( the corect link is )

    From your link :

    “In Britain, an affray is considered a violent crime, while in other countries it will only be logged if a person is physically injured.

    There are also degrees of violence. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year – compared with Britain’s 921 in 2007.”

    I take it you will then “apply your mind” to the above, lest you be judged in the same way you judge her.

    “What I would judge her for, is an apparent inability/unwillingness to apply her mind to what she sees.”

  • Len

    Please let this thing leave. Please tell her of all the wonderful stories of the UK and we could be rid of the likes of her and Huntley

  • Andre Steyn

    Succinctly put Siyabonga!

  • roger

    she is stupid. and you must see how racist websites like news24 are loving her!

  • GaryH

    great article, should get a lot of folks thinking, nice~

  • Soweto by Starlight

    Siyabonga, dankie vir jou fair and balanced commentary.

    I’ve also read Trapido’s remarks on Annelie and think both you guys are right.

    I lived in England for many years, and of course have been a victim of crime there and at home. Crime is a known matter of the factors you described, it really has little to do with people’s skin colour or none.

    Annelie is not helping by being so openly nasty.

    Best wishes

  • Evan Hurwitz

    For the most part, I agree with you wholeheartedly Siyabonga.

    One point I must query, however, is your assertion that violent crime rates in the UK are consistent with our own on a per-capita basis. I frankly find this claim more than a little disingenuous, and without some reference data backing it up I must accuse it of being dishonest.

    Since this claim forms the basis of your contention that the woman must be a racist (as opposed to simply being a bit thick) this is a rather important issue to clarify.

    For the rest, a very well-put article, and I must thank you for highlighting in a public form the fact that the demographics of our violent crime fit the demographics ofthe factors that shape them, and not some absurd demonic trigger hidden within our skin colour.

  • Docj

    “England is no better than SA when it comes to violent crime per capita.”
    Confirm your stats before publishing.

  • tman

    She’s a racist and she must go, we have enough crap in this country to sort out and don’t need people like her. Good riddance.

  • Alan

    Thank you for washing some cool rationality over the whole thing. I thought we were all going insane.

    Excellent post.

  • Etienne

    Good article and i agree.

  • LeeH

    Who cares about some racist in South Africa blaming blacks for crimes. After the torturous, brutish and unspeakabl­e cruelty of aparthied the racists inflicted on Nelson Mandela and his people for decade after decade she complains that there is crime. If you hold down the vast majority of the people with horrendous cruelty that prohibits their developmen­t of course there is crime when the shackles are taken off. They had nothing after working in virtual enslavemen­t in gold and diamond mines and other subservien­t positions while the minority white society got rich and lived well off their labor. She’s lucky that it’s only crime to complain about while she continues to write at leisure and live off the legacy of years and years of black labor providing her and priviledge­d whites a high standard of living. Crime indeed! Some in that country still don’t seem to know what an extraordin­ary man Mandela is to not call for wholesale revenge on the whites when he got out of jail.

  • Save SA vote DA

    crime is minimal in small towns in SA too, not just small towns in Britain. I have a house in Britstown in the N Cape, and one can wander the streets at all hours happily with no concern. She needn’t head to Europe to escape crime; she can simply go rural.

  • Al Paca

    Siyabonga, You obviously have not been to Birmingham or Brixton, very Black…….

  • Percy Fitz

    tman, I hope you say/said the same about Julius Malema and Thabo Mbeki, racists both.

  • Ryan H

    Well said, sir!

  • FishEagle

    You are right in pointing out that it’s no use running away to other countries. It’s best to call out the real problem. You failed to mention that England’s violent crime is being committed disproportionately by non-whites. Same goes for Europe, America, Australia or any other historically white country you can think of. For the same reason that Annelie Botes was silenced, these countries may no longer record the race of criminals. It doesn’t fit into the Utopian la-la-land picture of multiculturalism and we are all just told to ignore it, or else…

    Annelie Botes’ neighbour was not killed with a pen or paper clip. Perhaps if that were the case, she’d be talking about her fear of whites instead of blacks.

  • Ash

    Maybe she can give that Huntly (sp?) person a home in her new country!!

  • green genie

    I feel kinda sorry for her. You fear what you don’t know. And you monolithise what you don’t know. She has obviously been wrapped in a cocoon of Afrikaans privilege, and has never got to know any of the ‘others’, as friends, colleagues, fellow-activists, fellow music fans or whatever. She only knows the sad dish-rag stories which get wrung out at every gathering of the ladies who lunch, so fo course all she knows is that crime is black and therefore black is crime.
    I remeber going to a camp in 1979, which drew students from all over the country, including UWC and Fort Hare. I came across a kid from Stellenbosch, after one ‘show and tell’. She was sobbing, could hardly breathe. I sat down and asked her what was up. She said, “I didn’t know! I didn’t know!” That was my introduction to one of the crimes of apartheid – how the system worked (and is still working) to keep us in blocks of ‘them’ and ‘us’. We HAVE to put a stop to this. There is no more similarity between Siyabonga and his putative hijacker than there is between me and the HJ. Let Botes leave – unless she is prepared to learn something about the people who share this patch of land. The rest of us – let’s enjoy our differences and celebrate our shared humanity.

  • X Cepting

    Absolutely spot on, except for “was denied a life where she was free to explore her thoughts and the teachings of others.” We were all equally indoctrinated under the Broeders, but, as you say, that should not have stopped her from correcting the very limited scope of the “privileged” political education she received. What I find most distressing is that her books are “bestsellers” (haven’t come across them yet, thank goodness). How many other people are out there who thinks like she does, I thought they had all emigrated by now?

  • X Cepting

    Also, as others have pointed out, we really are world leaders where crime is concerned, I do not think the Brits come close.

  • Anke

    Great article!

    @tman: where to put all the racists of the world? They are everywhere (not just in SA), I can tell you.

  • Chris van der merwe

    Could not have said it any better myself. The essence of crime has nothing to do with race whatsoever.

  • talon

    Sadly for you the majority of violent crime in majority white countries are generally committed by the minority non-whites.

    For example in London where 12% is black they commit 54% of street crimes and 46% of the knife crimes and more than half of the gun crimes (from link below)

    You’ll find similar statistics for white vs. minority crime in places like New York and Paris and Stockholm and … (the list goes on)

    How do they get these stats?

    “Street crimes and crimes of violence are “contact crimes”: the victims usually get to look at the person attacking them, and so are able to point out some distinguishing features of the assailant — such as gender, size, and skin colour.”

  • Johan Burger

    Great article. Appreciate the balanced view. Also appreciate the acceptance of having to deal with a society that is broken, and as such cannot but deliver broken people, with a collective unconscious that is not all that healthy.

    What concerns me are some of the remarks. I do not care what the situation is in London. Knowing that will not help us with our situation. Every country is unique and needs to be dealt with as such.

    We need to put society as a whole, as well as the composite parts thereof, on the couch. Only then will we gain a better understanding of what drives us, and drives fear and crime!

  • P.S

    there i was waiting for a taxi and these white women stopped to ask me directions incidently we was heading to the same place so they opt to give me a lift, by the way ‘m a black young male- so contrary to popular belief we all made it there safely without me hijacking them although i had an inherent urge as a blk person *according to some ppl* to hijack them. Generalizing is very dangerous cause you might be enraging otherwise peacefull people not me though, i let it pass knowing that the world is not black/white

  • mallencolly

    @ Talon, the numbers do indicate a majority violent crimes being committed by non-whites in white countries. You will also find incomes levels to be significantly lower for non-whites. socicoeconomic status is a much better predcitor than race.

  • bonga ntshingila

    1. So we can debate the stats and the definitions till the cows come home. Fact is the UK is hardly where one runs off to if crime is what they are fleeing.

    2. Wrt the disporportionate crimes committed by black people in the UK, firstly this is beside the point, Secodnly, I’m pretty sure if you looked at the social backgrounds of white/asian miscreants in the UK you will find they have a lot in common with the black perps. Which by the way IS the point.

    3. Reporting the race of perpertrators is poor use of stats. Report their background, neighbourhhods etc and then look into how those can be changed for the better.

  • Gail

    Annelie Botes books are not actually about racism however they are written by someone who grew up with apartheid surrounding her so it goes without saying that her books are written from a privileged position. I’ve only read the one about the autistic child which was excellent.
    I would like to take issue though that poverty causes crime. There are millions of poor people who do not commit violent crime, simply petty crime to survive. The overriding reason for crime worldwide is overpopulation, urbanisation and a move away from an appreciation for manual labour to technology which both exacerbates the overpopulation issue while simultaneously robbing idle hands skilled or unskilled of a means of survival. It is these population pressures and the reduction of vital resources for all living things which lead to migration and extinction and crime. Let us stop trying to extend life beyond its natural time and allow the natural cycles of life to operate. We all know what happens if you place a male and female rabbit in a particular area and feed them and keep them healthy. They breed exponentially and soon the food and resources run out as does the land space which leads to them digging holes or inbreeding or fighting. Man is no different. We just do not dig holes anymore, we fly or sail or walk or drive and find somewhere supposedly better. Well the planet is full! And we can’t stop the world and get off. QED

  • marcus

    Siyabonga, great article – very nicely written. And a good laugh, too.
    – From an appreciative white person.

  • talon

    @mallencolly and @bonga ntshingila

    1. It would appear that the facts do not support your theory:

    “Two-fifths of people from ethnic minorities live in low-income households, twice the rate for White people.”

    “Within this, there are big variations by ethnic group. For example, more than half of people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic backgrounds live in low-income households. By contrast, 20% of people from White ethnic backgrounds live in low-income households, as do 30% of people from Indian and Black Caribbean ethnic backgrounds” (These demographics differ slightly from the ones in my previous post, but they are similar)

    According to the link London has 7.5 million inhabitants of which 69.4% are White and 10.7% are black.

    That means that 69.4% White is roughly 5.2 million people of which 20% are poor so that is roughly 1 million poor white people in London.

    Similarly there is roughly 0.32 million poor black people in London (if we work with 12% black from my previous post it is 0.36 million)

    It would mean that there are almost three times as many poor white people than poor black people in London. Poverty is not an excuse.

    2. Crime statistics have to include race to prove that prisons aren’t black because of police racism, because they are frequently accused of that.

  • Susan de Villiers

    Well, I have to chuckle. What a very South African debate. By me, racism arises out of ignorance and ignorance, more often than not, out of stupidity. And racism, by the way, is also extremely rude.
    Sorry Ms Botes. Damned out of your own mouth. I hope you don’t come to England. It is already full of far too many wingeing white South Africans.

  • MLH

    Glad to note your marbles are intact. You are way ahead of Trapido on this.

    Re: ‘affluent sparsely populated areas suffer less crime per capita than urban areas. Never would have seen that coming Mevrou.': perhaps she’s thinking of the farms here, where there has been considerable violent crime.

    I don’t see the point of saying she should be kicked out. There are many more racists here than we can contend with. But there’s no doubt, the grass in the UK may be greener, but that has more to do with their weather than their crime or lack of it.

  • jack sparrow

    It’s ironic how most politically correct journo’s and commentators rush to shoot the messenger and think no further. It isn’t politically correct to refer to violent criminals by race but it is statistical and demographic reality. Another reality is that SA has waaaay more truly violent (where the victim ends up dead) than say 95% of the world’s countries. To focus on race is wrong; we should focus on crime and why it takes place, why criminals aren’t caught, sentenced, imprisoned and rehabilitated. But maybe that is much too difficult a problem. Let’s play the race card instead.

  • Gustav Venter

    Your main arguments seem to be: A)Crime according to race reflects the demographics of SA. B) Black people are driven by poverty to commit violent crime. C)It’s nothing to be concerned about because violent crime occurs in other countries as well.
    Well, it is not the number of crimes committed by each race that is at issue. It is the rate. Black people produce criminals per capita at five times the rate whites do, according to SAIRR. Poverty is no excuse for violent crime. Afrikaners a century ago were poorer than the average black person of today, yet they did not turn to crime. You are just plain wrong about violent crime statistics in the UK compared with SA.
    Day after day we are confronted by a never-ending stream of reports of white people horribly murdered by black people. Why on earth would Annelie Botes not be scared of black people?
    The black race has a problem with crime. We need to face it or we will have no chance of finding a remedy for it.
    The astute black commentator will admit this and will help to find a solution.

  • green genie

    @ Gustav Venter, FYI: there is no such thing as the black race. It’s the human race, geddit? We can all breed with each other.
    Secondly, I would suggest that those with knee-jerk prejudices read a wonderful book, The Spirit Level: it’s not about colour or poverty, it’s about inequality. Where there is great inequality – SA, USA, UK, for example – there is great crime. Where there is less inequality – Japan, Sweden. Norway and the like – there is less crime. Way less. (That’s why the barefoot Afrikaners you idolise, Gustav, did not commit crime: they were all more or less in the same condition… But when they got their hands on the power, they did very much what is being done today – made themselves rich through various affirmative action mechanisms, creating a small crust of wealth floating on a sea of under-privilege, although of course the government of today does not ACTIVELy set out to oppress the poor, as the Nats did.)

  • mallencolly

    @ Talon

    1. Your figures from Poverty UK support what I said about lower income levels amongst non whites

    2. Understanding is not the same thing as excusing

    3. Socioeconomic status serves as a proxy for a number of things like alcohol abuse, gangsterism, poor education and a number of psychological factors all strongly correlated with poverty.

    4. There is not likely to be any significant level of alcohol abuse amongst predominantly Muslim communities such as Bangladeshis and Pakistanis/. There was no importing of gangstersim from those countries

    – (from your other source Wikipedia, I assume you consider it a reasonable source)

    ” In the following years, gang violence or behaviour on the part of Jamaicans became known in wider British society as “Yardie culture” and the participants “Yardies”. The terms “Yardie gang” or “Yardie gun violence” were largely used by the British media to described violent crimes in London’s black community. The gangs in London are specifically known to have occupied and operated in their infamous grounds of Brixton, Harlesden, Stonebridge, Hackney and Tottenham.”

    “Yardie gangs are notorious for their involvement in gun crime and the illegal drug trade, notably marijuana and crack cocaine in the United Kingdom”

    That is two huge and relevant differences. There are probably more.

  • Angie

    @green genie.

    bitter much? sheesh dude, swallow that pill.
    we are all entitled to our opinions. i really dont like taxi drivers, the majority of them drive like idiots. 100% of them are black. does that mean that i am a racist?

  • sika

    Mevrou Botes…

    Here is a simple fact that has eluded you and other racists like Steve Hofmeyr. Very very many people (just in soweto) where i live die as a result of violent crime. To suggest that blacks are attacking whites is, to say the least, very stupid and arrogant. you can be guaranteed that every weekend a good many people in soweto will be kniefed and shot to death for cell-phones, wallets etc. which part of SA do you live in Botes.

  • judy activam

    Siyabonga good news mevrou botes will not receive her award!!!! i have been making a fire every evening since I read what she said. My flames worked! she is a racist! Siyabonga!

  • ian shaw

    EXcellent article.
    However, there is a huge difference as to how Britain and otfgher European countries deal with crime and how it is handled in SA. In those countries, the criminal justice system works infinitely better than here, where most criminals get away with crime. Please examine the arrest versus sentencing statistics. Note that I have not said anything about the race of criminals, which is irrelevant.