The following blog post will be mostly photos as I feel the pictures speak for themselves. Two events are covered in particular, one is that of Zimbabweans taking refuge in Marabastad, Pretoria and the second is the March Against Xenophobia which took place in Johannesburg last Saturday.
The following pictures give a sense of the despair, both in the eyes of those affected by the scourge of Xenophobia, as well as that of ordinary South Africans who are fed up with the inadequate action of the government.
Zimbabweans in Marabastad, Pretoria from the blog post by Mandy de Waal
They sleep under the sheeting with a friend in the rain and cold. They ablute in the open field and wash in a stream nearby. A bank teller, Martin fled Zimbabwe to escape the violence there. He is studying at Unisa and believes that he will one day become an accountant. When asked what he thinks started the violence he says: “Poverty, joblessness and crime. But don’t worry, God is with us. This is life. This is just life.”
The March Against Xenophobia in Johannesburg from Michael Balkind at the JHB Live website
You can see from the slogans and in the eyes of the Zimbabwean refugees, despair and disappointment. More than anything right now, I believe South Africa needs an accelerated government action which will really address the issues of the people on the ground. Maybe they are doing something, but the perception of them doing nothing far outweighs all the little good they might be doing. It all eventually boils down to two things with the South African government, it is either inactive or very badly lead. I really do think it’s the latter case.
A final shot from Michael at JHB Live
What did make an impact were the people and their intentions. It seems as though the people of Joburg are totally fed up by the government’s inability to provide any form of protection, poverty alleviation or health care for it’s residents, and are finally ready to do something (anything please!)
You could sense it from the crowd.