Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Nobesethu

I have been to areas in Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, Tshwane, where refugees and migrants have been displaced due to the attacks by my fellow South Africans. I have seen women and innocent children forced to live in unacceptable conditions without food, shelter, sanitation, clothing or any form of identification.

I have seen men in despair, helpless that they could not be of any assistance to their wives, sisters and children. Their image as fathers, men and husbands reduced to nothing.

But all that could not prepare me for the shock that awaited me at Jeppe police station. Here were hundreds of different foreign communities, all stranded together, squeezed at the back yard of the police station without hope, trust and no communication from anyone. All I could see from their eyes and hear from their silent voices was a cry for help, to whom? They do not know. I do not know.

I feel as a country we have failed our fellow Africans, refugees and migrants that are supposed to be protected and their rights upheld. The meaning of life, love and ubuntu is lost.

As a rights activist, a humanitarian worker and a Christian women in South Africa, I am speechless and embarrassed to be called a South African at this moment.