Safety in Johannesburg

Further to some comments that I made yesterday about walking the streets of San Francisco……..

Another place I spend some time walking the streets alone is Johannesburg. People have warned me that this is unwise – that to wander about in groups of less than 4 or 5 people was to compromise one’s own safety.

I have always taken (and expressed) the view that muggers only pick on those they perceive as vulnerable and if one walks about the place looking like one who owns it and is, themselves, a potential physical threat, then one will be left alone (this is not advise I give to women, mind you).

Recent events suggest that I might have to review my approach.

When the Australian Rugby Union team we’re visiting Johannesburg recently and returning from dinner in a small group one of them was singled out from the rest and his new phone was stolen. He initially took off in pursuit, but his friends held him back, taking the (very sensible) view that a phone was not worth a knife or a bullet.

The man who lost the phone was Taniela Tupou. That’s a picture of him above. He is 23 years old. He is a professional rugby player and therefore unusually strong, fast and fit. He weighs 130 kilos (that’s 300lbs). He is referred to as ‘The Tongan Thor’.

So …. I may have to change my approach. If these guys are willing to take on Taniela (with half his teammates standing within 30 ft) I don’t think they’ll hesitate too much about Brutus.

The only advantage that I may have over Taniela is that, most of the time, I look like I’ve already been mugged.

More of the Tongan Thor here.

7 thoughts on “Safety in Johannesburg

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