Tag Archives: refugees

The resilience of a Somali community in Joburg

By Jennifer Sigamoney Globally, South Africa’s democracy is venerated and remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the continent. Consequently, however, to the initiation of true, representative egalitarianism in 1994, South Africa has attracted more asylum seekers than any other nation. The focus of this article is a small Somali community of political…

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Please, mind your language

By Yolanda Mitchell Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. This is a core value on which the Constitution is founded. Who doesn’t want to live in a country founded on such a noble base? It sounds like the Promised Land after all — especially to as many…

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Dying for a transplant

By Patricia Erasmus It is a lawyer’s worst nightmare — having to watch your client die. But this was the reality for our staff when an Ethiopian man was brought to us in the final stages of double renal failure. As he lay in the parking lot of our offices, disorientated, weak and struggling to…

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Demystifying new immigration laws

By Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh New immigration regulations are causing consternation among foreign nationals living and working in South Africa, as the provisions severely prejudice their fight to become documented. One of the most concerning elements is the situation of foreign spouses and life partners of South African citizens or permanent residents. Those married and wishing to…

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How will our society be measured on corruption?

Rita* fled the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa in 2009 after suffering unspeakable horrors and grave violations to her rights amid ongoing violence. The department of home affairs immediately recognised her as a refugee but when she was asked to pay a large amount of money to receive her refugee permit, Rita refused…

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Asylum seekers and bridging the gap in mental health

*Selam sits nervously in my office, lost in thought. In tears, she recalls her brushes with violence and terror since leaving Ethiopia in 2009. She has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, manifested by the continual abuse. She is one of many people being helped by Lawyers for Human Rights’ pilot project, funded by…

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Denying it’s xenophobia isn’t helping

By David Cote The recent attacks against foreign nationals, particularly those operating shops in townships and informal settlements, have sent shivers down the spines of many in South Africa and across the continent. It has been five years since coordinated attacks exploded across the country and led to the deaths of 64 people and the…

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Just Zille, people. Move along

By Thato Choma It’s been a while now and Helen Zille is still being crucified for her “reckless” use of words on national television and the twitter streets. In March this year she referred to Eastern Cape pupils, who’ve moved to the Western Cape for a better education, as refugees. Zille made this statement after…

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Governing by deferment

South Africa recently celebrated its 18th year as a nascent democracy, and it undoubtedly has much cause for celebration. Then again, it has equally much to be concerned about. With one party governing in eight out of nine provinces, and another party governing a single province – the Western Cape – since 2009, one would…

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“Refugee”: a dirty word in South Africa

We hate refugees. We burn them out of their homes. We chase them away. We burn down their businesses. We tell them go back to where you came from. Bloody refugees. We really don’t like them. So when Helen Zille comes here and tells us that kids from the Eastern Cape are refugees, we get…

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