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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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By unknown | Sep 14, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Themba Molefe

Themba Molefe

Crossing Beit Bridge to reach South Africa is fraught with danger - at any one time.

Like a cornered animal the woman behind the fence knew she had reached the end of the road.

It was only nine in the morning, but the temperature was already clocking in at 32 degrees and set to rise.

In short, it was searingly hot.

With a pile on her head and what seemed like a baby on her back, but which was just another load, she looked wearily at the R1 rifles being trained on her.

She walked along the fence. She could have, but did not, turn and disappear into the bushes from where she had surfaced.

The South African soldiers walked too. They on this side, she on the other.

They said nothing. They knew they now had their prey in their sights.

And she was tired, exhausted from days of walking and hiding.

Like the many who had survived up to that point, she just hoped her captors would give her water to wet her parched throat and food to replenish her body's drained strength.

But about an hour earlier, a young man, apparently in his mid-20s did make it.

He had found a hole in the fence.

Furtively he looked this way, that way and this way again.

Now, certain that he was undetected, he sized the barbed wire in the fence. First, the left leg, then the right, followed by his lithe body that he thrust forward.

On the other side, he made a dash for it and ran until he was dead sure that were they to come, the soldiers would think he was one of the locals.

Indeed, the young man was seen walking nonchalantly, as if he knew where he was headed or that he had walked on that road before.

These scenes unfolded at the Beit Bridge border between Zimbabwe and South Africa, along the Limpopo River.

It is a familiar sight as more Zimbabwean nationals cross the border illegally every day and night. But it is between 2am and 5am that the majority of Zimbabweans brave the Limpopo River and the dense bush a South Africa in droves.

The thousands that enter the country to escape hunger and poverty back home never make it across the menacing crocodile-infested Limpopo. Many fall prey to the scavenger gangs, the fearsome Magumaguma.

South Africa is indeed the biblical Canaan, the land of milk and honey.


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