Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cry for real freedom

Here is a story of a Zimbabwean woman who saw first-hand the madness sweeping through the townships.

It pains me to post these scenes and to read about this horror from the country that I love.

WARNING: Do not scroll down if you do not want to see graphic images of
the violence.

I do it however, in the hope that it will open the eyes of the world to the type of government in South Africa that will allow such terror while masquerading around the world as the doyens of peace and liberty.

I have no words to describe this. I just feel tremendous anger.

- - - - -

Thabiso, a 36 year-old Zimbabwean woman, had to flee the township of Thembisa near Johannesburg, after a series of xenophobic attacks.

"I was awoken by the sound of screaming on Monday. I realised they had set alight a shack belonging to a Mozambican immigrant.

He tried to escape the fire. But the residents were armed with all sorts of traditional weapons and AK-47 rifles.

They shouted: "Umbambe engabaleki", which means "Don't let him run away" in Zulu.

They threw a brick at his head and he fell down.

The mob caught up with him, doused him with petrol and threw him back into the burning shack.

The screams of the burning Mozambican still haunt me. When I close my eyes to try to sleep, I see the man screaming for help. But no-one helps him.

I have never seen such barbarism. I cannot stand this kind of life.

Some other Zimbabweans and I ran to take shelter in a shack owned by a South African woman a few yards away.

Other residents, who had seen us taking refuge at the house, followed us shouting: "Where are the foreigners?"

This mob was armed with sticks and knives. They called out the house-owner's name and ordered her to give us up.

She told the attackers we were not foreigners but South Africans.

What saved us was that we could speak Zulu, unlike some of the others who could only speak English.

After that the thugs left and searched for other foreigners who were already fleeing the area for the city centre.

Some of the women living in the settlement told me they had been raped. They said they could not inform the police, because they knew that would not help them. They even thought the police were collaborating with the mob.

I have lived in South Africa for eight years and had never seen such beatings and brutality by locals.

I had to leave with just a few clothes in a bag but many others had to leave with nothing.

I used to work at a restaurant in Johannesburg to support my two children but now I have decided to go back home, at least for a few weeks until the situation improves."

0 Opinion(s):