"Want a simple, efficient and elegant programming language? C"
Sure, string management is really simple and efficient, and especially safe, in C...
Probably that's the first reason Perl exists.
It would have been simpler and better to add a proper string type in C (and related operators), but you know, in *nix world useless complexity is what people like, and some designs are more revered and immutable than the Ark of the Covenant and its contents - for no better reasons than "tradition".