Ben says that he and his family treated their servants well, but there was always an underlying distrust between them.
"I had one gardener and two maids. The maids made meals, cleaned everything, helped look after us when we were young, and stole constantly. Mostly small stuff, like sugar and coffee. They also irritated my parents, like by pretending relatives had died to get off work. (One maid told my dad on three different occasions her uncle had died.)"
In Ben's family's defense, they still gave that maid the day off.
Things improved slightly for domestic servants after the abolishment of apartheid, but things are still far from perfect over there. "The government has introduced the grant system to counter the extreme poverty, which is a legacy of apartheid," James said. "Apparently, 15 million of the total population of 50 million of South Afrikaners are receiving it."
Crime, Murder, And Violence Became Part Of Everyday Life
Per-Anders Pettersson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
In South Africa in 1995, there were about 65 murders per 100,000 residents. That might not sound like a lot, but it's actually 13 goddamn times higher than the current murder rate in the United States, and that includes Detroit.
Sam Dao/iStock/Getty Images
Which South Afrikaners refer to as "a quiet vacation getaway."
There really was no way to escape the chaos. Even in Ben's affluent neighborhood, things got so bad that his family fled the country for Australia, the continent designed by Satan during his death metal phase. Even super-jumping knife-spiders and other such charming Australian fauna start to seem appealing after your grandma almost gets beaten to death with a shovel in a robbery gone wrong. That actually happened to Ben's family, by the way:
"Our next-door neighbors got hacked to death with pickaxes. Another time, a friend of my mom was standing in a shop somewhere, but his buddy made the mistake of having a very expensive camera hanging around his neck. Someone came up behind him and shot him in the head to steal the camera. ... Murder was always in the peripheral. You'd get together with friends and someone would talk about how they got hijacked the other day, or how their gardener got shot, or how their friend was killed."
Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Then it would turn into a bragging contest about who'll end up needing more therapy.
If you're wondering where the police was during all of this, well, back then no one really trusted the cops. Ben disliked them for shaking people down during bogus traffic stops, while black people saw the police as tools of the apartheid government. According to our source: "Blacks protesting against inequality were killed and beaten and tortured. I was also a political prisoner and what has been experienced ... was inhuman, including the solitary confinement."
The most depressing thing about that is that the country's GTA period isn't ancient history. Some of you probably have pants that were made around the time people still sort of owned slaves and used flamethrowers on criminals. And because that's a shitty thought to leave you with: Did you know that the red panda often uses its fuzzy-wuzzy tail as a blanket?
In 1960, 69 black protesters were killed by African police during the Sharpeville Massacre.
Ben is an aspiring horror writer, because what else would he be? He also has a blog full of his short stories at www.freenightmares.me. Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com.
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