Attack Survivors Arrive Safely

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By John Ekongo

WINDHOEK

Eleven of almost 40 Namibians who were caught in xenophobic attacks in the settlement of Du Noon in Cape Town, South Africa, late last month returned home yesterday morning.

The bus carrying the 11 arrived two hours late much to the annoyance of some of the relatives who had come to meet them.

Fearing worse attacks, the group opted for voluntary repatriation.

The group left Cape Town on Tuesday morning, with the assistance of the Namibian High Commission in South Africa.

Returnee, Paulus Shilyomunhu Mutilifa, expressed gratitude to the Namibian Government for acting swiftly and ensuring their safety, but at the same time expressed disappointment over the attacks and the effect the have had on his life.

“I am not happy, but what can I do,” said Mutilifa.

Mutilifa has been living between Namibia and South Africa for the last 10 years and migrated to South Africa in 1998, at the age of 22. He is now 32.

Mutilifa had settled well in South Africa, with a wife and a three-year-old child. He said he went across the border because of the strong economy and better salary compared to Namibia.

“Over there, the money is a little bit better than home,” revealed Mutilifa.

He stressed that he will return home to his village in Ombalantu where his parents await his arrival, but indicated that he will not stay long in Namibia.

He said he might stay in the country for a week only before he makes the trip back to Cape Town.

Asked why he would like to go back he said: “I don’t have anything to show in Namibia. My life is there, I just came here for a breather and I have to return.

As for now, I am just off home to see my parents and next week, I will be in Cape Town again,” said Mutilifa.

Mutilifa feels the attacks were just unfortunate and that things will normalise soon.

“Some colleagues have returned to their houses, this thing will pass, don’t worry,” said Mutilifa.

He said the reason why other Namibians opted not to return home is that they are ashamed that they have nothing to show after working in South Africa for some time.

“Some colleagues have nothing to present, everything they are proud of is there, left behind in Du Noon,” said the returnee.

The xenophobic attacks that started on May 11 in Alexandria Township in Johannesburg and soon spread countrywide have claimed the lives of more than 50 foreign nationals.

Countless properties in the affected towns were vandalised and looted.

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