Hundreds of Zimbabweans are living in extreme poverty in South Africa’ capital, Pretoria, are longing to return home as jobs are difficult to secure as most of the people are undocumented.
An informal settlement in the centre of Boom Street in Marabastad in Pretoria is now being referred to as “little Zimbabwe” because the high number of Zimbabwe living there.
The squatter settlement has no toilets and water, and shelters are built using old plastic sheets, cardboard boxes and cloth. A resident of Little Zimbabwe, Thomas Sithole, 29, who came from Mkoba in Gweru spoke to GroundUp. He said:
We live here because of suffering. We want to rent apartments like other people but we cannot afford it.
I came to South Africa thinking that l would find greener pastures but things haven’t been easy. Now l do what l can survive.
Going back to Zimbabwe is pointless as l come from a poor family and the unstable economic and political situation worsens things.
Sithole said he went to South Africa in 2008 when Zimbabwe’s economy had virtually collapsed.
He lived on the street outside the Methodist Church in Johannesburg and later moved to an old building in Pretoria from where he and others were later evicted.
Following the eviction, Sithole moved to Little Zimbabwe where he has been staying since 2011.