Welcome to World Population Day, a joyous celebration of new neighbours to love, share and play with…err…mmm…let me begin again.
The United Nations predicts that the human population of Earth will reach 7 billion on October 31 2011. That’s a 4 billion addition in only 52 years. Take consolation in the fact that growth is slowing. By the time my 39-year-old self is unlikely retired, I’ll be just 1 part in 9 billion – amazing; scary; amazingly scary!
With Man’s joyous proclivity for loving his neighbour, this undoubtedly means more war, whether on the stock markets or an oil field. The glue of modern society, the middle class, is rapidly vanishing. Life is simply getting tougher.
I may soon be referring to my Knysna home as the “most beautiful ‘city’ in South Africa” instead of the “most beautiful ‘town’ in South Africa”. Locally, I haven’t been able to find the definition of a town versus a city but if we used the rule of 2 of our country’s largest trading partners, the Germans and Chinese, then we’d be a city when reaching 100 000. But what is Knysna’s current population? That question is the point of this blog.
I have yet to meet someone in Knysna who is confident in an approximate population estimate. No, that’s not an oxymoron considering the huge discrepancies. Some say as low as 50 000, many 60 000. But that’s because central dwellers, mostly white, don’t seem to have an idea of the rapid growth of the Northern Suburbs, the townships. With life even harder in the next-door province of the Eastern Cape, many have come to Knysna seeking a better life. The 3 gardeners I greet in my little road are Malawian. More Chinese shops are opening. Local government, if I recall correctly, estimated 74 000 but without giving a reason how they arrived at that figure (difficult considering that the majority of citizens do not pay rates or water). The Knysna Municipality has yet to respond to my query but the Knysna Ratepayer’s Association did – interestingly, they supplied the Liquor Board’s figure of 96,000.
Knysna cannot efficiently run itself, and plan for the future until it knows what its population is. I look forward to the 2011 Census!