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Meanwhile, practically nobody is travelling there, as we saw at the terminal, where buses to South Africa stood parked up and empty. [Picture: O País]
Dozens of Mozambicans are returning from South Africa for fear of the xenophobic attacks that have killed more than 10 people. Meanwhile, passenger transport carriers are feeling the effect of a dearth of customers and claim that the dominant tendency is for everyone to return to Mozambique.
Besides the murders, the looting and destruction in broad daylight of property and goods belonging to foreigners who live and work in South Africa fill the images coming from the neighbouring country. Shops looted, cars wrecked and attempts to rebuild what was destroyed – all ending in failure, as the rioters return to destroy everything anew.
And it is this environment that frightens Mozambicans working in South Africa. Some have not even been directly affected, but the fear of receiving a visit from the supposed ‘owners of the house’ deprives them of sleep. And, because there is no better place for a restful sleep, they have begun packing up their things and returning home, where there is a guarantee of shelter.
On Tuesday, “O País” was at the Junta Terminal, Maputo city, where several packed coaches were arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa, carrying children, the old and the young, men and women.
“We are coming back because we see no possibility of coexistence in South Africa, and we do not see what the problem is,” one young man who had been in living in South Africa since he was 14 said. He is now 26, and has been out of Mozambique so long he had forgotten his Portuguese, and we had to conduct the interview in Changana.
But Noé Filipe thinks differently. A Mozambican from Beira city and who has been in South Africa for two years, Noé says he has a full understanding of how it all began and adds that Mozambicans have absolutely nothing to do with any of it.
“What happened is that Nigerians sell a drug called ‘nyaope’. South Africans don’t like it and one day there were clashes between a South African driver and a Nigerian drug dealer,” Filipe explained, adding that says he didn’t understand why South Africans were now intent on expelling all foreigners, including Mozambicans and Zimbabweans.
Noé Filipe decided to flee South Africa after a relative of his, who was also his neighbour, was attacked and his grocery store looted. “So now he’s hiding in the police station, and they won’t let him leave,” he said.
Francisco Mavie, 63, has been working in South Africa for over 25 years. He had recently been in Mozambique on vacation, returning to South Africa three weeks ago. But he had to come home for his safety’s sake, even without collecting his pay. “While we were in Johannesburg the day before yesterday, they reached the Market. We ran back to Deveton, and we escaped,” he said.
Carriers at the Junta terminal in Maputo yesterday said that there were many Mozambicans looking for transport back to Mozambique from South Africa because of the situation.
Meanwhile, practically nobody is travelling there, as we saw at the terminal, where buses to South Africa stood parked up and empty.
By Afonso ChavoSource: O País