Cape Argus, 20 May 2008

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Some residents of Harare informal settlement in Khayelitsha, now home to many foreigners including Zimbabweans, have condemned the latest xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg. Foreigners in the community said the attacks were shocking, but maintained that they had relatively good relations with the locals and felt safe. "I have stayed here for five years and made friends with many Xhosa people whom I found to be good people. I also learnt their language and appreciated their culture," said Jonathan Tangana, whom the Cape Argus found in the company of more than a dozen young and elderly locals at a community hangout. "The world should remember that we want to be with our families in Zimbabwe. It's about being humane and understanding our dire situation... what is happening in Johannesburg is sad, really sad. "The media should help fight xenophobia and not add fuel to the flames. People have the tendency to act in the same way as they have seen it in the media. But I don't think its going to come here." Five other Zimbabweans who share a single shack said they had been following the events in Johannesburg with anxiety. The Cape Argus found them glued to their television, watching the latest news bulletins. "We really fear for our relations up there, but what else can we do? This is not our country, we just came here to seek refuge," said one of them who declined to be named. Their landlord, Patheka Madela, said: "I don't like what happened in Johannesburg. It is bad, but the government should do something to improve the lives of poor South Africans." A pregnant woman from Ghana said her brother telephoned her and pleaded with her to return home. "It is important for South Africans to realise that we are one people despite the colour of our skin, colonial boundaries and language barriers. We cannot get rid of the poverty among us by shedding blood of fellow brothers and sisters." South African Mandla Gura said: "I have seen the terrible killings and torture in Zimbabwe and for us as South Africans to treat them like that is abnormal and cruel. Those people have suffered. I'm a Christian and under God we are one and equal." Another, Mzwekhaya Mgushelo, said: "When these foreigners come here, they start repairing shoes for example, and for us it's a dirty job, how then can they be taking our jobs? Even the housing issue, they don't live here for free, they pay rent. Sometimes we are just jealous."