Today is Nelson Mandela Day and the theme announced for this year is “One hand can feed another”. This was important when they announced it at the beginning of the year BUT it is even more crucial now after the Riots and disturbances this past week throughout KwaZulu-Natal..
In the past I have always said to my friends that the images of violence that we see here in the UK from South Africa are of events far away from Centocow and the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Municipality where we work. They happen in the townships surrounding the big cities like Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg or in the Central Business Districts of the same cities. If we stay away from them we are safe and especially in the deep rural areas where we work and travel to.
This week I have been shocked by the scenes of devastation in the small towns near Centocow where I have done my food shopping while I visited KZN. All the three nearby towns Ixopo, Bulwer and Donnybrook were burnt down into debris. Seeing the shops that I visited destroyed by looters and communities ravaged has been shocking for me and it has taken a few days to even be able to write this. It means that there are no shops within many miles for my friends to buy food and the roads into the larger towns and cities are blocked anyway so how could they get there.
We are in regular touch with our local partner NGO’s working in the Traditional Authority areas of NDZ municipality and are seeking their advice as to how we can best support the people who are currently without food and other supplies.