Saturday, 05 April 2008

Hope dims for Zimbabweans in South Africa

This morning I spoke to one of the millions of Zimbabweans in South Africa. “We were hoping that we would be able to go home soon” she said. “Now it doesn’t look so good.”

She has been living in South Africa for about ten years working as a maid. Over the years, all the goods that she has accumulated have been sent back ‘home’ to Zimbabwe in preparation for the day that sanity would return to the country.

Wherever you go in South Africa you will find Zimbabweans. Unable to live in their home country, they live in South Africa – usually as illegal immigrants – working as maids, gardeners, labourers, security guards or waiters or waitresses. Whatever they accumulate is sent home. In reality, most of these people are refugees. Many have risked their lives crossing the border to South Africa.

This election brought great hope to the Zimbabwean community in South Africa. With a new government, life in Zimbabwe could be turned around. With the possibility of earning a living back home, many would return.

Now, with Mugabe holding on tightly the optimism has faded. An election win isn’t enough. The presidential run-off is likely to be rigged. The international community are committed to helping the new government – but only once Mugabe goes. Is there still hope for Zimbabwe?

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