Statement by Barbara Ngodwana, Head of Welfare at Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, after visiting the De Doorns camp of displaced Zimbabweans on 19 November 2009
It’s amazing how one’s life can be disrupted by a certain turn of events or by a disastrous situation. The camp’s atmosphere was calm and yet it had a normal atmosphere surrounding it. Women, men and children including chronically ill persons were scattered around the shared environment. Piles of a few personal items and clothing were on top of each other inside the three different tents which had been set up as shelter for the internally displaced of the xenophobic attacks in De Doorns which took place on 17 November 2009. At this point during our visit to the site, the living conditions within the site needed improvement, and a lot has improved since then. The feelings of the majority were clearly visible and each person had a story to tell which was different from the other, but in essence they all echoed on how they had lost their livelihood and everything within a short space of time. In spite of what they had gone through, it was unbelievable to see how they were earnestly trying to rebuild their shattered lives. Women had commenced their duties in the fields; children had started going back to school. They still had hope, tried to maintain normality and were determined to find ways of starting to rebuild their lives again.