As one of the economic hubs of Africa, there should be no question as to why Africans travel from around the continent to Africa’s city of lights, Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2008 xenophobic violence reached a peak. Many individuals from throughout Africa escaped the economic plight of their own countries, seeking a brighter future, or refuge, but were met with violence and hate.
Its estimated that over 3 million Zimbabweans currently live in South Africa— many illegal. Reymond Mapakata, an illegal Zimbabweian immigrant, has been living in South Africa for the last 5 years. In South Africa, Reymond has been arrested 5 times, beaten by police, and has been living in a church turned refugee camp that houses over 1500 people each night. Reymond went to Johannesburg seeking “greener pastures” for himself and his family in Zimbabwe, but still struggles for a consistent meal. Reymond’s treatment as a refugee is not unusual, and is in fact mild compared to other. This story explores Reymonds roots in Zimbabwe and his current life in Johannesburg.
For one month, I shadowed Reymond from his current home in a church turned refugee camp located in the notoriously dangerous Central Business District of Johannesburg to his home village in Zimbabwe.
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