Living with Continuous Traumatic Stress in South Africa

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Hypervigilance

I have lived in my current family home all my life. It’s in a moderate neighborhood with mostly average income and elderly families. But we are constantly being preyed on with regards to armed robberies and hijackings - this is true for many areas in SA. 
 
I would think in 17 years, we have had over 20 incidents. Yes, seriously. Car theft, armed robberies, hijackings, this has instilled a sense of hyper vigilance within every member of our household. 

My mom compares it to a soldier experiencing war that any noise or sound might trigger her into a past traumatic experience. The thing is, unfortunately we can’t be blase or let our guard down in general in SA. We can’t live with our doors, gates or windows open like some places. Luckily, we haven’t been harmed with these incidents but we have lost irreplaceable valuables and sentimental items in the ordeals. 

My mother grew up in a small town where in the 1970s -1990s, where she never experience a house robbery. Where everyone knew everyone. Since then the town’s dynamics could have changed a little. I live in an urban area, in a different province (my parents moved here for work) with people from different backgrounds. There has been an influx of undocumented foreigners who have made SA their home as well. The vast unemployment rate and lack of education of both local South Africans and foreigners seems to be a catalyst to catapult them in one direction. A life of CRIME! 

All these occurrences can be slowly rectified if we all just care and respect each other. Take responsibility to build a better future for young South Africans. Let’s Speak out and talk about it could bring cathartic relief for us. We shall overcome!! 

 

 

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We Shall Overcome
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