Vignettes of a South African Township called Mdantsane

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Somali refugees and Mdantsane, South Africa

The Somali refugee was shot dead through the steel mesh window at his spaza shop in Mdantsane. He sold even two bread pieces to starving locals. He survived Mogadishu and the Al Shabab, arriving in South Africa penniless and on an asylum status. They worked hard and started tiny grocery shops all over Mdantsane. The existing business being run by Bangladeshi shops had to close down because of fierce competition. The Somalis got involved in the spam of marrying on contract local South African girls to keep their residency status. But who killed the Somali man and who stabbed them. I had asked the Maulana accompanying them to my Emergency Medicine Department. I told him in humor, You are bringing stabbed and shot Somalis every week and I have healed them, what have you done for me. The Maulana smiled, I will offer my duas for you in the mosque. Later I found out it’s the Somalis killing other Somalis and has never been a case of Xenophobia. There is Al Shabab in South Africa and every Somali has to donate and become a member The radical islamization from where they fled has caught up with them here again. There is a turf war for the sale of Methamphetamine popularly known as the Tic. The Nigerian Mafia controls the drug trade, disguised as Pastors, they move around effortlessly. A certain elderly Nigerian whom I had treated in the Emergency Medicine Department and walks with a gold walking stick pondered and asked if I cared to join him in an impeccable English. Memories of the Nigerian Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Wole Soyinka wafts in, he had said, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’. I remember at Nairobi airport filled with Somali refugees and the acerbic smell of Khat chewing, postponing hunger. I was on transit for an Air Afrique flight to Niamey where I was to serve as an UNV Volunteer Orthopaedic Surgeon there. Most of them eventually died in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, running from their home to a foreign land which they wanted to call as “home” I keep a 9 mm in my car, just to have the feel of fond memories of gun toting dacoits of Gwalior Violence is only the way to Peace and loving is the only poetry encompassing life

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