Alfred sent another SMS this morning saying:
"Praise God the situation looks calm on our side. But some are still hungry for violence."
We really thank God for keeping Alfred and his family safe.
This afternoon I met Eduardo from Angola. He rocked up at the office looking desperate and confused. Eventually we managed to ascertain that he had misunderstood what the church where he was staying had told him. The church currently has nearly 700 people staying in its building and needs to spread the load, so they told the people that they were to be moved to other local churches. Somehow Eduardo thought he had to leave so he came to us for help. We managed to sort this out and Dean took him back to the church where he'd been staying. As Dean and Eduardo got chatting he told his story... Luckily on the night the violence broke out in Nomzamo he was at work and he received a call telling him not to return home. A friend went to his house and rescued a few personal items but Eduardo lost everything else. Today he carries a small bag with all his worldly possessions in, he has nothing else! Eduardo is here completely legally as he fled the war in Angola. He's been her for over 5 years and simply cannot return 'home' wherever that might be and he is far from alone in having such a tragic but genuine story as to why he came to SA seeking refuge from the war. This is such a shameful episode in South Africa's history!
The situation looks to be calming down and the govt claim to have brought the violence under control. In reality it's more likely that there are so few foreigners left in many of the townships that there's little excuse for continuing the violence. Most NGO's are united in speaking out against the govt's ineptitude and seeming lack of any longer term plans or strategy for dealing with the displaced and those who are responsible for the violence. Mbeki has been totally silent on the whole issue and today left the country to attend a conference in Japan, so the country can't be in crisis! Quite what will happen as and when the displaced return to their homes is anyone's guess.