Urban survivors in South AfricaEach day, thousands of Zimbabweans attempt to flee Zimbabwe across the border to South Africa. However, persecution awaits them: they are met with hatred by South Africans, shunned by the police, many have been stripped of their rights, and the abuses they have suffered are most often unseen as the government turns a blind eye to their existence.
Thousands of Zimbabweans face the threat of deportation back to Zimbabwe, so they seek the anonymity of the shadows in the overcrowded squatter camps and the urban slums.
The violence against them is ruthless, random and unpredictable. Entire buildings have turned into urban slums, a breeding ground for violence, crime and disease. In Johannesburg, the slum buildings are controlled by gangs, and are considered unsafe, especially for young women. Most have neither water nor electricity. Those who live in the buildings pay a fee to the gangs, who in return offer protection from the police.
Many Zimbabweans speak of torture and political oppression as individuals forsake their identity, their rights, and their health to survive.