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You’ve got mail, in South Africa!

   Proceeding with “You’ve got mail!” action, that unites African immigrants with their families, I had a special mission to accomplish in South Africa… This time it was not the letter of an immigrant in Greece but the letter of a girl’s family from Cameroon. Loic from Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, gave us a letter in June 2014 for his two sisters who live in South Africa. Six years have passed since they left home and they have never met ever since. They keep in touch but it is too expensive to fly in Africa, so most people cannot afford it.

Loic from Cameroon gave us a letter in June 2014 and asked us to deliver it to his sisters in South Africa.

Loic from Cameroon gave us a letter in June 2014 and asked us to deliver it to his sisters in South Africa.

   Stephanie is 31 years old and is currently living between Pretoria and Johannesburg. She invited me to her small apartment and she made me feel like an honored guest. She studies management and accounting, while she translates between English and French to make a living.

   Her sister lives in Johannesburg and she is married to a Cameroonian. They got three children. They sometimes meet each other during weekends. There are many Cameroonians in South Africa but Stephanie told me that she’s quite antisocial and hasn’t got any friends. She was asking about my journey and she was curious how could I not be afraid of the locals. She is quite afraid herself due to the xenophobic attacks that are on the rise in South Africa these days.

Handing over to Stephanie the letter I was carrying all those months...

Handing over to Stephanie the letter I was carrying all those months…

   South Africa is the most developed country on the continent and it attracts immigrants from various African countries where life is hell. Unfortunately, the last years some black South Africans attack immigrants from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Somalia, Congo, Malawi and other African countries. The excuse is always the same all around the world… Those immigrants take the job opportunities out of the locals, they say. However, most businessmen claim that Zimbabweans are better educated, more reliable and more hard working than South Africans. But people everywhere are afraid of the competition and they don’t want meritocracy to rule. They just want to get rid of the foreigners, who struggle to make ends meet and sometimes they pay with their life…

   Images from xenophobic attacks on the news are really hard to watch… Groups of furious locals with machetes on hands grab any poor guy who tried to escape the hell from his own country in order to survive. How could they imagine that an even worse kind of living hell would wait for them in South Africa, in Europe, in America… The story is the same worldwide. Poor people are the ones who have to pay the price. Some locals tie young immigrants wearing shabby clothes, who can hardly survive, and they burn them alive! There was even somebody who was filming that on his mobile phone, so I watched the most hideous images my eyes have ever seen… It makes you wonder: don’t these people have any feelings?

Stephanie was touched to see her old family photos...

Stephanie was touched to see her old family photos…

   I handed over to Stephanie the letter that I was carrying all those months around Africa. She opened it, she read it and she found inside some old family photos that really touched her. She saw herself as a little girl with her siblings and her best friends. When I asked her if and when she will meet them again, she didn’t know what to answer. Until then, she will only be seeing them on these old, washed-out photographs…



22 Μαΐου 2019, 21:00
Μοτοσυκλετιστικός Όμιλος Θεσσαλονίκης
Γρηγορίου Λαμπράκη 7



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