Zimbambwe refugees in South Africa
Even after the formation of a unitary government orchestrated and executed by President Robert Mugabe and his archenemy, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, most Zimbabweans continue to flee over the border illegally into neighbouring South Africa. This perhaps suggests that either the power sharing deal, albeit still intact, has had little or no impact at all on the daily lives of the average Zimbabweans, or it’s too obvious that faith in the coalition government is waning.
The continued illegal move across the borders has persisted despite relaxed visa rules and claims that the country has normalized. The Musina town showgrounds, a cluster of brick buildings and sheds on a sprawling field meant to host agricultural fairs is the first port of call in South Africa for millions of Zimbabweans fleeing the collapsed economy. Thousands of refugees gather and queue at the fence behind which stand police vans – used for deporting refugees with no documents, and mobile registration center set up by the South African government, which has tried a variety of solutions to thwart the constant flow of migrants. Before temporarily lifting visa requirements for Zimbabwean immigrants entering the country for a period of 90 days back in May, the ANC-led government tried a hand on mass deportations and handing out asylum seeker permits, the latter which just helped to encourage influx. Many refugees arrive with few or no possessions as they are often attacked by gangs called gumaguma’s, who roam around and about the border area robbing and sometimes raping refugees. Many others arrive with diseases like cholera and malaria seeking for treatment they cant get from their own country due to deteriorated healthcare system, while others cross the border to seek further education. Whatever reasons the Zimbabweans may be having for abandoning their own country, they are all just in their pursuit of a better life. A life that would help wash away the pain of suffering for years as selfish leadership drives the country to the dogs. A life that would help save their children who die every day of HIV/AIDS, and are becoming infected, orphaned, and forced to leave school to care for sick parents. And a life mired in hyperinflation, high costs of living and a Darwinian struggle to get by.
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