The Other Side of Things

shackAfter watching Dear Mandela I was very emotionally struck by what I watched. The movie began with police shooting at civilians living right outside the city of Durban, South Africa. These victims were questioning the government in confusion, because they believed they had done nothing wrong.

Why were they getting shot at? What had they done? There were individuals who had gunshot wounds and needed an ambulance.

I feel so safe in my house, and I cannot imagine living the way they do. They simply took axes to a woman’s home and she was simply helpless as she was unable to do anything.

It is unfortunate that people must live in such poor conditions. Mnikelo, who is an elected
spokesperson for this village,  wondered back to Nelson Mandela. People want to meet Dear Mandela+ MnikeloMandela and see how he feels about the unstable conditions in which the people live in today. He spent years in prison fighting for these people to have a better life–yet they are still fighting the battle themselves. Mnikelo never believed himself to be an activist, nor did he believe he would be fighting for something that was promised to them. In response to what happened earlier, Mnikelo responds to calls from the communities facing eviction, and teaches them. He reads them the constitution which states that no one can be evicted, or have their house demolished.

These people had been residing in this shack area for 21 years now. As I witnessed how and where they lived, it made me want to reach out and help them instantly. Mnikelo stated that these shacks can be created within a day’s worth of time. Just by realizing the time it takes to build them, you can only imagine how small and simple they are.

People live in such small quarters. Some were doing laundry and washing their clothes with dirty water. Many people lived within the same shack despite how tight of a squeeze it may be. Due to their family situations, there could be many children living under a household. As I watched this video, I noticed little girls doing some cooking and cleaning around the house. A child so small should not have to prepare meals at such a young age; however, in this situation she is forced to grow up early. The others around her are working or going to school, which makes it difficult to maintain both jobs. While watching this, I thought of Muhammad Yunus. He was so willing to help the poor people and help abolish poverty in the world.

counting shacksWith every new election that comes, officials count the number of shacks in preparation for the number of houses that will one day replace them. They write the number down and leave it until the next election when they come to count them over again. People gain hope from this but are soon let down because after every election, no action happens. Mandela promised the people that houses would be build, however assures them that they will take time.

Despite the occurrences that continued on, I was struck by the conditions in which these people live. Children are still able to keep a smile on their faces and stay happy–despite the havoc that goes on around them. Although there is an end to the apartheid and Mandela promises them houses, there is still danger that occurs everyday. One thing ended, and now another begins. Through pictures, the nearby city of Durban seems very nice and it is amazing how only five miles down the road, these shacks are present. These shacks contain diseases and poor conditions and can be very detrimental to people’s health.


One Comment on “The Other Side of Things

  1. Pingback: Coming Down to the Wire | QU 301 South Africa

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