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South African Perspective

A Cape Town reader writes:

I'm glad to see you mention that South Africa has today legalized gay marriage. This is truly a great thing. Not to belittle this great civil rights achievement, I do worry though that this is relatively meaningless in the greater context of everyday South African life.

What does it help gaining a civil right such as this, if at the same time one of the the most basic human rights, the right to life itself, is daily violated in a very large scale here in South Africa. We are suffering from a wave of lawlessness and violent criminality in this country, second only to places like Columbia. South Africa has one of the highest murder, rape and other violent crime rates in the world (that is probably if you discount places like Iraq at the moment).

Yes, legalizing marriage rights for all is progressive and the right thing to do, but I wish there is more international outcry (as was the case during the apartheid years) about the atrocities that happen here on a daily basis. How ironic that we have one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, yet at the same time our deputy president, Jacob Zuma, stands on a public forum (during his rape trial) and proudly states that it is ok to have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person (a family member who he allegedly raped) as long as you shower afterwards.