This article is published in the current issue of Left Turn magazine in the United States of America.
By Toussaint Losier
[The black capitalists]
[Are making us worry]
- Chorus of a contemporary protest song, sung in Xhosa
In the predawn hours of Saturday, September 13th, 2008, a devastating fire tore through the thousands of wood and zinc shacks that make up the Foreman Road informal settlement in Durban. Sparked by an unattended candle, the fire spread quickly and raged for hours.
With only one water tap serving nearly 8,000 tightly packed residents, there was little people could do but warn their neighbors and move to safety to watch their houses burn. It would take several hours to put out the fire. Among the smoldering debris, residents would later find the body of Thembelani Khweshube, 30, who had been asleep when his shack caught fire.
“I wish that somebody could save us from this misery,” lamented Funeka Nokhayingana to a local reporter from the Durban Mercury amidst the charred zinc and the damp ash. “I have lost everything in the fire – my identity document, my children’s birth certificates, uniforms and school books. It hurts me to raise my children in such conditions, but I don’t have a choice because I have nowhere else to go.” Read the rest of this entry »