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'I can't leave her in her hour of need'

By unknown | May 28, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Gida Mbebane, 24, a Mozambican national who was forced to flee her home because of the xenophobic violence, has been living with her husband and two children in a makeshift refugee camp.

She is destitute and finds it difficult to cope in the camp. Mbebane lost all her belongings during the attacks.

But a Good Samaritan and former neighbour in the Makause informal settlement, Joyce Molokomme, has at least made the family's stay in the white tent a little more bearable.

Molokomme brings to life the adage "love thy neighbour".

She is simple, humble and works as a security guard.

She is South African or as she calls herself "le citizen".

Yet she always makes time on her day off to visit her friend at her tent near Primrose police station.

Molokomme was visiting Mbebane when Sowetan arrived at the Primrose refugee tents yesterday.

She had brought food for her friend and the family.

"I don't have much but this woman [whom she affectionately calls Squeeza] used to help me. I cannot leave her now in her hour of need."

Molokomme said the people who attacked her friend were ignorant and had no foresight.

"They have never been to other countries and think they will never go there."

Mbebane said things were not easy for her children, especially with the cold weather.

Her only belongings, in the form of blankets and a few donated clothes, are neatly packed at in on corner of the tent.

The opposite corner is used to store fire wood. The tent is neat and clean. Occasionally Mbebane leaves the tent to attend to her pots on the fire.

Her shiny silver pots have now assumed a black colour because of the smoke. She is cooking for her husband, Albert Lubisi, and his two friends while her two children play as if oblivious of their surrounding.

"I'm not used to this. I'm not free to do what I want because I have nothing," said the woman who used to sell sweets and cigarettes to survive.

Her husband said he was sending his family home.

"My kids are not safe here. At the end of the month they are going back with their mother and I will join them in December."


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