Zimbabwe: Photo Story of Zimbabweans

10 April 2010

There are thousands of Zimbabwean immigrants and refugees living in South Africa. Some flee persecution and extreme human rights abuses, others extreme poverty. All come looking for a better life.

Some find it and it seems many don’t. Precious Plaxedes is one of those who came to South Africa looking for greener pastures. She says she thought money grows on trees in South Africa. But soon after she arrived in Johannesburg in 2004, she realized that living in South Africa was tough.

Having got help from various well wishers she finally met her boyfriend Joe Ndloti. They live together and have two children. They have had to be complacent living in an informal settlement in the South of Johannesburg called Jackson. They can’t afford rent any where else. Here, they try to do some business to make ends meet, and even though living condition in the squatter camp are deplorable they are trying to do the best they can to bring up their children.

This informal settlement has a population of many refugees and immigrants, mostly from Zimbabwe. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious Plaxedes lives in an informal settlement in the South of Johannesburg called Jackson. She lives with her boyfriend and her two children. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious and her family live in a house made of corrugated iron sheets and wood. The house is divided into two. The living room also serves as the area where she sells fruits, vegetables and sweets, Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

There are no proper means of disposing off waste in the settlement. So Precious will often throw rubbish behind her house and than burn if afterwards. This is a health hazard for everyone living around. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

The toilet and bathroom facilities are also deplorable and sometimes her children do not adhere to certain basic health rules like wearing shoes when going into the latrine. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious does not only sell fruits, vegetables and sweets, she also ran a hair saloon in the compound. Her busy schedule, maybe the reason why you will often find her children playing with dirty water or other harmful substances in the compound. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious and her boyfriend have had to take in a young relative – Juvenns Ndloti – because his parents are not in a stable relationship. This adds to the burden of rising up a family in this sort of area. But Precious is convinced that good will always come from helping someone in need. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious is up early every morning to prepare for the work she will do that day. Washing the fruits for sale is one of the tasks. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Packing chips for sale is another task. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Precious has many customers who prefer to buy from her. Sometimes she has poorer people coming to ask for fruits or just something to eat. Precious says she never sends them away. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Joe Ndloti, Precious’ boyfriend is a barber and a shoe maker. Living in these sorts of conditions has forced them to exploit all the talents they have to make a living. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Despite, the challenges Precious home is always warm and welcoming. Johannesburg, South Africa. (Wairimu Gitahi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

 

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