Tomorrow will bring difficulty and challenge, but for these past hours, it has been the time to rejoice and celebrate! Mugabe has resigned! Thank you to NoViolet Bulawayo for capturing the moment with her powerful words below.
“there is no night ever so long that does not end with dawn.” president robert mugabe’s night, too, has ended. so many emotions, but mostly, in the first few mo...ments, i just sat here and wept . . . for how dark, how terrible, mugabe’s long part of the night was. for the many it swallowed, never to see tomorrow. for everything my people had to do to survive it. for all that fell apart in it, including parts of ourselves. for all our beautiful bodies, dispersed all over, because, when things fall apart the children of the land scurry and scatter like birds escaping a burning sky—they flee their own wretched land so their hunger may be pacified in foreign lands, their tears wiped away in strange lands, that the wounds of their despair are bandaged in faraway lands, their blistered prayers muttered in the darkness of queer lands. Zim fam—i’m sorry for our collective wounds. but i’ve also seen you endure and strive in the night, known your laughter and dance and hope and dignity and grace (not that grace) and everything else that makes you golden, and understand that all these things have carried us through; i’m faithful that we will survive the long road ahead, because as we all know, we have tomorrows to face as we figure out the Zim we want and deserve. tonight, though, congratulations, amhlophe, makorototo my peaceful, enduring people, it’s a day we never thought we’d see. and most of all, welcome to all the Zimbabwean children born on this day—you’re our most precious, most untarnished promise, may you never see what we've seen, may you know, finally, a Great Zimbabwe.
I've done some work on my website so please take a look!
It's great to have all the reviews and info about both Darwin's Hunch and Sanctuary in the same place, as well as some of my other writing, and info about writing workshops and contact details.
"No one leaves home/ unless home is the mouth of a shark. You only run for the border/ when you see the whole city/ running as well." Somali poet Warsan Shire's poem sends an important message as the refugee crisis expoded this year in Europe. As Syrian refugees fled their home, I thought of my grandmother who also fled Turkey and then Syria in the 1920s. "No one puts their children in a boat/ unless the water is safer than the land." The South African Daily Maverick named... their international person of the year - The Refugee.
As of the start of 2015, the Central Methodist Mission's Refugee ministry closed. It provided many years of shelter to thousands of people. I send a message to everyone who ever lived at Central - All the best to you as you move forward in your lives. May 2016 bring you and your famiies good health and opportunities for the future.
Thank you to Khadija Patel for following the story of Operation Fiela and "state sponsored xenophobia."
Here is an update from the Daily Maverick about the impact of the Friday raid on Central Methodist. Some people ended up at the Gift of the Givers camp in Mayfair. Operation Fiela (led by the police and the SANDF) is frightening. A government media statement says that it is an effort to rid the country of illegal weapons and drugs but their real target is foreign nationals. State sponsored xenophobia.
I have heard from several sources that Central Methodist was raided by the police and soldiers this morning. I'm not sure of the exact numbers of people still staying in the building (I've heard estimates ranging from 150-300), but many were taken away in trucks to Johannesburg Central Police Station.
This time, Central Methodist will not provide refuge for those fleeing violence, as it did in 2008. For anyone interested in reading about why Central Methodist closed its refugee ministry on 31 December 2014, see this City Press article below.
Violence against foreign nationals has flared terribly in South Africa again. Impossible not to think back to 2008. This time it began in Durban with six people killed and 2,000 people displaced (although there was violence and looting in Soweto in January as well). Many point to King Goodwill Zwelethini's inflammatory remarks about sending immigrants home as the spark to the violence in Durban. Now the fear has spread to Joburg again with many shops closing yesterday and... hundreds of foreign nationals sleeping at the Primrose Police Station last night. Today there will be a discussion in Parliament. This time, Central Methodist will no longer offer refuge. We all must support the groundswell against the violence and quell it before it grows. There is a lot of analysis to read, but here is one article exploring the role that poverty, inequality and the failing economy plays.
Here is the link to my article in the City Press. I'd like us to continue a discussion about how we can learn from the experience at Central Methodist. I think it raises questions about a policy and institutional vacuum in the City of Johannesburg in relation to all the many dimensions of poverty.
Please join me at David Krut Bookstore at Maboneng on Saturday 7 March at 11am.
If you'd like to re-visit Sanctuary in light of recent developments in our city - the closing of Central Methodist's refugee ministry, the anger and looting against foreign owned shop owners in Soweto, Operation Clean Sweep and Operation Ka Molao (It's the Law) - please join me for a discussion. Several former residents of Central Methodist plan to join us as well.
Media coverage of Central Methodist continues as hundreds of residents remain in the building. The new Superintendent Minister Ndumiso Ngcobo says "We have closed the ministry for refugees." See reference to one recent article in the Daily Maverick below:
Today is Paul Verryn's last day as Superintendent Minister at Central Methodist Mission in Johannesburg. The church leadership has declared that all of the church residents must vacate the building by today as well. I was at Central yesterday. Many people have worked to find alternative accommodation, but many people don't have the means to move. There are big changes underway at Central but all will not be resolved today. http://www.citypress.co.za/…/methodist-church-refugees-fin…/
I will be speaking about Sanctuary at WiSER at Wits on Thursday 21 August, 2014 at 1pm. All are welcome.
I will be speaking about Sanctuary at WiSER at Wits on Thursday 1pm. All are welcome.
Rapula Moatshe, the Eugene Saldanha Fellow for Social Justice Reporting at the M&G wrote about the uncertainty facing Zimbabweans who applied for special permits in 2010. They are due to expire in December. Read more below.
Congratulations to all the authors on the long list for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Prize for Non-Fiction. I am so excited that Sanctuary is on the list. What an honour!