A security guard keeps watch at the entrance of King David School High School in suburban Johannesburg, March 15, 2012..
(photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS)
THE FREEDOM to walk in the streets in your suburb is something most people the world over take for granted. For us, it’s something brand new. Watching our 10-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter leave home in Ra’anana each morning, as they walk or cycle to school, is a novelty. It’s something we’d never have allowed in South Africa. Not everyone may agree, but for us, it was a question of safety.In Johannesburg, we’d drive all of four minutes to get to school each morning. It seemed completely normal then. It’s only now that we realize how bizarre that was. A ten-minute walk to school is a great start to the day. Cycling – with helmets on – is brilliant exercise. I’d predicted it would take a few months before the children would be comfortable walking on their own. I couldn’t have been more wrong. On their second day at their new school, we were advised our “escorting services” were no longer needed; they knew the way home and would happily walk together. It’s a fabulous “new normal.”