Archive for June 2011
By Hassan Isilow
CAPETOWN-“If you didn’t know it, we are fed up of foreigners and don’t want to see you here.” These were the words of two thugs who robbed and assaulted a foreign shop keeper in Delft on Thursday evening. 25 year-old Abdi Majeed Mohamud, a Somali national said two thugs attacked him outside his tuck shop.
“They came up to me and said a few dirty, xenophobic words, before one of them hit me with a gun on the forehead, while the other punched me on the lips.” He said they then robbed him of two cell phones and a wallet containing R300. “I was told the name of one of the thugs by a friend and I’m contemplating reporting him to the police,” he related.
Like most refugees operating businesses in townships, he fears turning his attackers in to police because they might intimidate him further. “Reporting them to the police might endanger my stay in Delft where I do business. I don’t know what I should do.”
This is the latest in a renewed wave of attacks on foreign nationals in townships across the country. On Monday a 50-year-old Somali delivery truck driver was gunned down by robbers while delivering goods to shops in Khayelitsha township near Cape Town. But while activists working with refugees have shown growing concern about the increase in the attacks on foreigners of late, police have insisted that the attacks were crime driven and not xenophobic.
By Hassan Isilow
CAPETOWN-As the winter weather gets colder across the country, the true shade of poverty can be seen. Homeless people could be found scrounging for food while sleeping exposed to the elements on the streets without blankets. On Thursday night I visited the streets of Bellville and met several homeless people sleeping under the Bridge next to the Bellville train station.
Marius van Niekerk is one of the several homeless people living on the streets of Bellville. The 22-year-old white South African male from George said he has been without shelter for several months after he came to Cape Town to look for work. “It gets worse when it rains, you can not sleep. It is very cold. I badly need a blanket, but can not afford one, I wish some one could help me.”
When asked where he gets money to eat, Marius related that he depends on food given to him by good Samaritans. “Food handouts don’t come all the time. At times you’re forced to beg or ask people if you can do some odd jobs for them. Life is very difficult. I badly need a job… if some one out there can please help,” he appealed.
Van Niekerk thought life would be better if he left his home town in the South Eastern Cape, heading for the Mother City. But it has not been that easy to find employment and instead he was exposed to just how tough life could get here. “Everywhere you go, they ask you for a CV and if you apply, you wait and wait. I urgently need a job so as to get my own shelter and food. Whatever the job, I’m ready to do it,” he said as tears filled his eyes.