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Joe Slovo's pavement evictions

14 March 2014, 12:30

It's Thursday morning and I wake up to what sounds like stray rubber bullets flying about from a distance and police sirens at a construction site. Neighbor’s conversing about the rise and rise of police brutality and how their vans had blocked off the main road so taxis can't pass through Slovo today. I didn't need to get up from the bed to overhear this little transaction because we are backyarders. Our shacks are so close together that I could go a week without switching on the TV set if I wanted to and still follow Generations' obscure storyline.

Down the road, from where I was busy eavesdropping, a crane was rumored to be gearing up to remove a handful of shacks that were beginning to block the entrance to the local primary school and church. Our new neighbors from across the road, I was later told, had just started moving onto that open area that most call a pavement just two months ago and were already issued an eviction notice by the municipality of which they’d chosen to ignore. By the time I’d walked down to the taxi rank Democracy Street was already closed off by the police vans and half of the shacks dismantled. One blue container was dragged midway across the road along with debris, buckets and mattresses all laying on this pavement. I think the shock had consumed most of the onlookers because most of the residents seemed to be half conscious of what was happening as they watched the policemen parade around in their navy-blue uniform and red tape. There was no chanting, no resistance but then again how do you prepare yourself for such so early in the morning?

By ten o’clock a number of our new neighbours from across the road had heard the news of the evictions and came flooding back to the spaces where their abodes used to be. Unfortunately for them what they found was nothingness. The allocated movers had packed every piece of furniture, bedding, and memorabilia up and shipped it off to a supposed storage house in Bellville. They were handed business cards with directions whilst most of them were in tears asking, in between large gasps of air, where going to sleep tonight, never mind reside for the rest of the month. Strangely enough the majority of our new neighbours from across the road I noted were young people that were frantically trying to make ends meet. I watched one guy slowly pick up a few sets of combs from the ground and tuck them in his back pocket; he later told me that that was his blue container. He'd just opened a saloon. Just then another guy with tears in his eyes and voice that broke as he spoke pulled him aside to show him a bicycle that was broken into three pieces." How am I meant to get to work now?” he said and ran into the crowd, inconsolably...

The stray bullets where warning shots to the residents who were allegedly trying to block off entry for the crane by burning tyres in the middle of the road in the early morning.

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