We have just returned from Jeppe Police Station in town where approx 2000 refugees are crammed into the backyard. This is just one of many stations swamped.
Thank you for the incredible response in terms of donations and volunteers.
You have once again proved that people just want to know how they can help to make a difference and get involved.
Seeing as Government has not responded on ground level with any plan to resolve this crisis, it is up to volunteers and donators to feed these people. The police who are already stretched beyond their limits are doing their utmost to care for these people in terms of toilets, food and blankets. They are overworked and with no end in sight, the situation can only worsen.
It just started raining.. That is going to be a big problem for all these people who are outside in this cold weather.
For the few of you upset by this initiative, I apologise if one of these mails slips through to you. On that point, when we arrived at the police station on Wednesday a child had just passed away. That child did not choose to be there.
There are babies, children, pregnant woman, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants and criminals all bunched together, they are all being treated the same. We are not there to pick sides or say who is who. The fact of the matter is that there are surely those who were attacked for good reason, but blind hate has been poured over many, many innocent and legal foreigners as well.
The circumstances around the xenophobic attacks are so complex, that anyone trying to pin it down to one thing is being presumptuous. The fear, frustration and hate that broke out into violence like this can be traced back to many factors. People are unsafe, unemployed and leaderless.
We are not there because we feel that illegal immigrants should be allowed in this country. We are not there because we have a political angle on this or because we don’t feel that foreign syndicates are a problem. Our reason for getting involved is purely because we came together on Monday night and as a band decided that seeing a man being burnt alive in our city is not acceptable.
No matter who he is.
We don’t have the time to discuss this with people who say that many people are murdered, why jump at helping the foreigners?
My only answer to that is that I personally have removed myself from what is going on in this country for long enough. For long enough have I avoided the news because “it’s always bad.” We have become so detached from our reality that it took the photograph of a man burning alive to make an impression on me. So if it takes the attacks on foreigners in this way to ignite us into action, so be it
On a practical note:
Feeding people is great but we feel that actually moving people out of danger and back to their countries is the only way to resolution. We can’t force people to return home and we can’t do it on our own. So because the Mozambican government has an initiative to move their people we are working with them. We are still volunteering with food and relief and the response of people that want to help has been overwhelming. We will use RAOK as a rally point for initiatives and resources. We will make and take suggestions and do what we can where we can.
We have to start somewhere. We have to start sometime.
We have to snap back to reality. Get out of our Playstation, DSTV, Facebook lives that only amount to us trying to escape boredom.
There is more to life.
We started moving the first Mozambicans last night in cooperation with the Mozambican Consulate General in Johannesburg. Please keep everyone on the ground in your thoughts and prayers.
We will send out updates on needs as they arise. Currently there is a desperate need for:
- Toilet Paper
- Nan 3
- Black bags
- Cups and paper plates
Please do not call us, we don’t have the capacity to take all the calls coming in. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to volunteer or donate.