South Africa mapThe other day I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine (he’s from Sweden and is living here in London) – being an open plan office everyone soon joined in. We were having a casual chat about holiday plans for the year … and I was enthusiastically suggesting that he go to South Africa for his next holiday – listing all the amazing and wonderful sights and experiences! His reply: “Well, sure … as long as I can take a gun.”
This sparked a heated and google-fuelled discussion amoungst the office as we looked up crime stats for SA. Sadly, everything they found on the web pointed to South Africa being one of the top 3 “most dangerous countries” in the world. The rape/hijack/murder stats were not encouraging. We were up there with Columbia.
I tried to explain that it’s really not as bad as they think. I was just home in September – and sure, we have crime (let’s not gloss over the facts) – but stats are easy to mis-interpret. I was quick to jump in with the info that Graeme had posted recently … and yet to no avail.
As a South African living abroad I am positive about SA – both present and future. However, it’s very difficult to promote a positive image of my home when there is still such negative information and attitudes floating about.
It makes me wonder about the power of the internet and the WWW – sure there is loads of information available – but how accurate is it? Are we being fooled into believing everything that Google delivers as “truth”?
The stats that everyone was reading re SA were 5 years old – but no one bothered to actually look at the source of the information. They just accepted it at face value. Have we stoped questioning and thinking for ourselves … and are we letting “Google” do it for us?

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