I have been through a lot of pain in life but what I have experienced wasn’t a usual pain it was prodigious!
I know I’m writing from pain but this doesn’t mean I will forget about it once the pain heals. I walked in one of the areas of Mamelodi on the 22nd of June, a Thursday evening. This area had an enormous protest where many people were injured and some lost their homes. As I walked in the area, I saw sad faces like people were troubled…I continued walking until I reached the area where the protest took place. The first thing I saw was burned tyres, rocks blocking the road and burned shacks. What caused me pain was when I saw people taking their belongings from their homes (burned shacks), some where leaving from the area with vans. My heart bled. At the time the police were there looking after the area preventing more violence. I think I saw about 10 or more police in the area all sitting at the top of a hill and trust me that didn’t even make me feel better about the situation. I asked myself one question that I still haven’t got an answer to it. Where is the humanity? I’ve realised that some of us still fail to practice the concept of “Ubuntu”. I could’t find reason enough for the cause of the violence. When I asked what caused the protest they told me that they are fighting over an electric cable. Would an electric cable cause someone’s home to be burned? It was unbelievable…Not to forget to mention that people were still in their homes with fear..fear that the attackers would come back and burn their homes. Some were still outside cold, with children on their backs scared to go home just walking in the streets. Elders not knowing where they should go. Is this a life that any people should be living in this day and age? I suggest we look after each other but that looks like it is going take a while to sink in. Care about each other and help each other out. One of my good friends said “I’ve realised that we people live like birds, once one gets attacked we fly away”, I totally agree with him. How many of us are helping other people who struggle? I bet very few. As for I, I wish I had the power to make changes. I’m actually looking for a way to change this although there won’t be nothing but telling their story. I spoke to a few people in the community trying to get as much information as I could to understand what happened and why it happened. One of the few people who was able to talk to me expressed how he felt about what happened to them, it was heartbreaking to hear the whole story. I listened to his cries, gave advice where I could but it wasn’t good enough. I even felt like I’m not good enough to give advice. If you could give yourself time and listen to people stories you will be shocked. I know in your mind you think I’m just a journalist looking for stories, but this isn’t about journalism anymore it is a reality. Listening from where these people are coming from, some are here for work. I wish we would all feel the same way and try and help other people and if we were, one of you will understand the pain I’m going through…
Later on when I did a follow-up to the story and found more information about what happened that day. I found out that some of the people in the informal settlement also burned Mahube Valley Extension 1 bond houses. There were others from Mahube who also lost their homes that day. The residents were lucky enough because it is said that Tswane Mayor, Solly Msimanga is going to build a wall between them and the cable as well as water metres were later replaced by Tshwane. Maybe now I should say I feel so much better because they also looking for a fair solution to solve the issue.
By: Fortunate Machaba