The Anni Dewani murder case is in its fourth week of development. Like many of you, I have been following this story closely. It is deplorable that a young, intelligent beautiful woman’s life was cut short. I had initially decided to refrain from sharing my views about this story mainly due to the lack of credible information available. I was compelled to write about it, because of the comments and opinions I have read regarding Anni’s case.
Anni’s murder has brought me to some realisations. One, that at times human beings lack compassion, we sometimes have ‘sheep mentality’ lapping up any news and information from the media and government and substituting it as our own opinion. I have yet to read a comment on the blogs, newspapers Facebook and Twitter sites that is not a regurgitat of the information shared by our media. Have we lost our ability to think critically for ourselves? It could be that for so long our opinions and thoughts have been influenced by the media that we no longer know how to assess information critically.
Many South Africans have stated on these forums that Shrien has tarnished South Africa’s reputation. I am not too worried about South Africa’s reputation. South Africans need to take responsibility for the state our nation is in just like any other country with problems. Only then can we start to fix our issues. We need to own up to what transpired and stop using Shrien as a scapegoat for what happened. Anni’s murder is a reflection of all South Africans and we all as a nation need to do some major introspection as to why these young men on trial and one already convicted, committed this crime. Many South Africans who have commented on this case say that they are proud that South Africans are uniting on this issue and protecting its name. I would suggest that this unity be focused on trying to find ways to address our crime issues. When there is a crisis, we tend to focus on the wrong things and fail to address the root cause of our problems. What we should be discussing is how we can ensure that something like this never happens again. We should also remember that there are thousands of South Africans who are victims of crime and their cases are never solved.
Why is it so easy for people to succumb to evil because of greed and money? This is not a new phenonmenon in South Africa, I have witnessed car guards in Pretoria stabbing each other with beer bottles over five rand. Why don’t we use the energy of baying for Shrien’s blood to start initiatives that will deal with the social issues our country is afflicted with? The three men who have been charged with this murder all seemed to be raised in a single parent household, some by their grandmothers. Our communities have failed us in that we seem to produce too many young men like those charged with Anni Dewani’s murder. We should petition the department of education to start a subject in schools, which should be examinable, called Morality and Ethics. If our children are not receiving these lessons at home, our schools should provide them with such guidance.
We all want the perpetuators of this evil crime to face the consequences of their actions. Our desire for justice should not drive us to convict Shrien who is still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I would add that regardless of his guilt or innocence what good would it do to bay for his blood and spew such bile? The facts in this case have not been brought to light, most of our assumptions have been fuelled by hearsay and leaks communicated by our media.
We have all been affected by this case, many are angry. Wishing ill on another person, guilty or not, is a poor reflection on you as a person. It is so easy to throw stones when we are sitting on the fence. If this happened to someone you loved I assure you that your reaction would be different. Where is our compassion? At times, we need to think how damaging our words can be. ‘The Anni Dewani (Hindocha) Case’ Facebook page and all other similar forums are a travesty and an insult to her memory. Many of those commenting on the case have already decided on the fate of Shrien Dewani before the courts have heard the case. In a trial by the media and public opinion, Shrien Dewani is guilty. As rational human beings, let us wait to hear what really transpired before offering our opinion.
In the meantime, let us try to honour Anni Dewani’s memory by being respectful of other’s opinions on the forums we are discussing her case in. Remember that though freedom of speech is our constitutional right we all have a responsibility and should think before we speak. When all is said and done we will eventually forget about this case and be consumed by another scandal, crime etc. Those who will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives are the Hindocha and Dewani families. For that reason let us watch what we say.