It helps to know that somebody out there cares (Xenophobic Attacks)
2012 July 10 17:48:36 | 1708 Views
- Ingabe ikuphatheleni i-MDC, njalo kusizani ukuyivotela? | 2013 May 13 17:03:55 | 2650 views
- Ikuphatheleni iMDC, kusiza ngani ukuyivotela? | 2013 May 08 19:28:47 | 2681 views
- MDC-T on course | 2013 March 27 14:05:12 | 6568 views
- People will vote for a party with sustainable economic programmes | 2013 March 04 02:36:52 | 7350 views
- Introducing: Election (2013) campaign articles | 2013 March 02 11:08:41 | 5928 views
- Prophet Uebert Angel upsets T.B Joshua's followers | 2013 February 24 10:20:20 | 40775 views
- Prophet T.B. Joshua's prophecies for 2013 | 2013 January 01 12:26:15 | 21290 views
- Obama's wife is a Zimbabwean! | 2013 April 01 12:51:57 | 20436 views
- 'If anyone was defending Nkomo, it was I. I was the last to leave Zapu,' says Mugabe | 2013 February 19 15:02:19 | 11098 views
- Mpofu and SK Moyo up for Presidency | 2013 January 17 16:37:36 | 11049 views
There is a death far worse than physical death, and that is the death of the mind and soul. When despite toiling night and day, under sweltering heat, torrential rain, you still cannot make enough to clothe shelter and feed your loved ones, suffering miles away, forcibly separated from you. That is the plight of the black migrant worker according to one scholar.
It was in April 2008, that night as I was watching the news on E-TV, I thought hell was broken lose and all the devils were circulating around me just to make me dull.
Xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg's Alexandra Township. It seemed like a horror movie. Our Zimbabwean lady was raped four times by four men (bear such memories till date), one Zimbabwean lady who fought hard to prevent her fifteen year old young sister from being raped; some men were not so luck as they were killed with many migrant's belonging looted as they ran for dear life. Mostly Zimbabweans, Somalis, Malawians and Mozambicans were horribly affected. Mostly the people I saw on the news (presumably Zulus as eye witnesses had said) were celebrating their victory promising that it was only the beginning to drive out foreigners of their promised land.
South African Shangaans and Vendas were also said to be foreigners and therefore suffered the same fate.
The days to follow were mayhem as other communities followed suit. I did not know if I and my family were going to get out alive. I was scared for my family, scared for my fellow Zimbabweans and other African families who unfortunately were negatively affected by this; losing you love ones in this brutal way hurts more than one can imagine.
Living in the high density of Ililiba section in Tembisa, I knew very well that it was a matter of time before we witness the same scenario. I was at Tembisa Station one morning waiting for a train to Isando Station where I worked at the OR Tambo International Airport as a security officer. Most people at the station were talking about these attacks, justifying them. I heard some individuals boasting about their gains on looting from my fellow migrant workers, mostly electric appliances such as DVDs, TVs also cell phones etc. They talked about how the kwere-kwere, gri-gambas (derogatory names for foreigners) how we were ruining their lives, that is taking their sisters, their jobs and just everything, we were committing crime hence it was justified that we were booted out. Aboard the trains, it was the same story, some even talking of throwing us out of the moving trains which later happened. It was easy to spot a kwere-kwere, they are different from us South Africans, that is what one guy was saying. My heart skipped a beat as I thought he was referring to me. I was reminded several times long before the attacks that I looked like a Nigerian because of my dark colour.
At work, most of my co-workers made it worse by justifying that justice has finally prevailed, haiye (must go), they said. I lost concentration at work and underperformed during this period. My supervisor Lucy of Indian nature tried very hard to console me and gave me all the necessary support. My late home boy and co-worker from Kwa-Bulawayo, Michael suggested that we take a month long unpaid leave and take our or families back home. He did not waste time in doing it. I was left alone waiting for the unknown to happen. One thing I knew, I wanted out of the Airport Company but did not know how. I stopped using trains and taxis and resorted to private transport.
My family members based in the U.K wanted me and the family back home in Zvishavane, were ready with all the help to ensure that life is as smooth as possible. Family and friends back home shared the same sentiments and warned that we must not delay as repercussions were severe. My other family, South African born citizens wanted us to stay with them and offered that they would protect us. A lot of South African friends would phone every day to check if we were okay. As Zimbos, we would check on each other every now and then. The unity was just really. Our government had also sent ten buses to transport us back home with a promise of adding more depending on the number. Only a few took this offer. At Engine garage (Oakmoor station) along the R21 highway, a lot of people had their belongings, heading back home. It was not a nice scene to watch as though we were prey running away for dear life.
Watching news and reading newspapers, what made headlines was more deaths, a lot of looting of belongings and torturing of black foreigners. I wondered why we are so ruthless, BLACK oppressing BLACK (not to say that we must oppress others because of their different colours). I cried for the Somalis, they walk for six months from their country running away from civil wars and on arriving, are welcomed by death in the Eastern Cape? The hurdles we face like crossing the flooded Limpopo River heavily invested with crocodiles, guma gumas along the border of which some Zimbos unfortunately do not make it alive, what we ran away from to try and better our lives and families? Jumping from the frying pan into the fire, that was the situation or is the situation.
My four brothers in Cape Town also experienced the worst. When some Somali shop owners were unfortunately killed and their items looted in the cape neighbourhood, a lot of foreigners were displaced. For my brothers, their landlord locked them in their rented bungalow, pretended that he wanted to see foreigners dead helped as the attackers did not search his place. My brothers however finished four horribly days locked there and using a bucket to relieve themselves which was later emptied after four days when the situation was calm as the police were deployed.
A nearby squatter camp of Madhela-Kufa in Tembisa was heavily affected. Foreign nationals were luck however to be warned around noon that by end of day they were supposed to vamoose and had to save the little they could as they went to a hide-out in Rabasotho which had been arranged by the police. What was left, looters from nearby sections took the whole lot.
The worst was yet to come as reports of foreign nationals were thrown out of moving trains to their deaths or if luck survived but were left with permanent disabilities. The squatter camps of Reigher Park and Ramaphosa where a Mozambican national was burnt alive, another survived but the scars (burns) will forever remind us of the horrific encounter. Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave only thirty-five left his family to come and look for work, him being burnt alive evokes a lot of emotions. Home is home though it never is so homely, I thought. I wanted out of the Airport as I was having a nervous breakdown. Staying indoors was the order of the day and one would watch the situation around avoiding being close with people. One Zimbabwean man was not so luck at Knights Train Station. Two South African men question as to where he was from. The language became a factor and he was beaten very badly and left to die.
One morning, I was relaxing and increasingly more afraid of going to work, I received a call from a mining company in Rusternburg. They emailed the details and I had enough and wanted a twenty four hour notice. My friend begged that I at least give two week notice which I did. I did not however owner the tradition of Airport workers, of bidding farewell. My heart was bleeding profusely and just wanted out.
My new company in Rusternburg did not take any chances as their response and the police were on full alert. My adopted community of Ililiba had held an emergency meeting after the Alexandra attacks and were united against xenophobic attacks and luckily we were safe. I salute Bheki Cele as undoubtedly Kwa-Zulu Natal Province handled the issue better than another province in the country. He warned promptly and frankly that whoever starts these attacks would be a very good example to would be doers. The Zulu people are mistaken for violence and their province once known as a storm centre, I was wrong and salute them a lot for not taking the wrong route.
The TV stations such as SABC, E-TV and also celebrities, church leaders other individuals, Africa and the world played a very good part in ending this. Though I think the South African government under Mbeki did little, they however tried also to put an end to this.
It was amazing when South African men and women told their story of intermarriages, the families that were created and how they have become one with their foreign nationals' husbands and wives. At one point, I held a lot of grudge against the South Africans. I do have a South Africa family and a lot of South African friends who showed a lot of support during the attacks. They cared enough and helped ease my tension.
I still think that the Tutsi and moderate Hutus were not so luck; we lost many of our loved ones (close to 100) but if it was not for the intervention for those who care, could have been thousands if not hundreds of thousands. Though the deportation, a few attacks witnessed every now and then (one Zimbabwean recently killed in Polokwane), deportations in the UK, Israel etc, we hope that one day the Almighty will restore our country and that we will be a good example to the world by living together in peace and harmony.
From the bottom of heart, I want to thank you the people of my beloved country, ZIMBABWE (from all corners), it was going to be worse had it not been for your prayers, kupira, ukuhlabela amadlozi. Your grieving at seeing such brutality is the reason why most of us survived. I wrote this with tears flowing down my cheeks.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. MAY THE LORD BLESS ZIMBABWE AND ITS PEOPLE?
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
Source: Justice Maphosa
Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo | 2013 May 19 | 627 Views
Eyewitness News | 2013 May 19 | 1024 Views
Staff Reporter | 2013 May 19 | 785 Views
Sapa-AFP | 2013 May 19 | 487 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 468 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 382 Views
Sports reporter | 2013 May 19 | 394 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 656 Views
Harmony Agere | 2013 May 19 | 527 Views
Alex Bell | 2013 May 19 | 368 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 532 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 517 Views
David Magagula | 2013 May 19 | 589 Views
Happymore Sibanda | 2013 May 19 | 522 Views
AFP | 2013 May 19 | 537 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 601 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 390 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 19 | 1230 Views
Staff Reporter | 2013 May 19 | 733 Views
Staff Reporter | 2013 May 19 | 646 Views
Staff reporter | 2013 May 18 | 3269 Views
Moyo Roy | 2013 May 18 | 1771 Views
Staff Reporter | 2013 May 18 | 3185 Views
Sports reporter | 2013 May 18 | 1364 Views
Emmanuel Ndlovu | 2013 May 18 | 1198 Views
Arts reporter | 2013 May 17 | 1726 Views
Entertainment Correspondent | 2013 May 17 | 2085 Views
Moyo Roy | 2013 May 16 | 1915 Views
Vasco Shaya | 2013 May 16 | 3542 Views
Staff Reporter | 2013 May 15 | 1937 Views