SA is hell on earth, says Somali shopkeeper

2015-04-14 09:11
A Somali shopowner gets ready to leave his general dealer following looting and violence in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

A Somali shopowner gets ready to leave his general dealer following looting and violence in Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Durban - A Somali shopkeeper, protected by heavily armed riot police, loaded what remained of his stock into a bakkie in Lindelani, near KwaMashu, on Monday night.

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Bashir Mahmoud, 27, said he had not slept for six days fearing he may be killed and his general dealer - his entire livelihood - plundered.

About 200 people stood at a distance, kept at bay by police. The locals laughed and jeered as Mahmoud loaded what he could into the bakkie.

They eventually broke into another shop abandoned by its former owner. Two children struggled under the weight of a washing machine which they pulled from the shop, and disappeared into the night.

Outcasts

“I have not been able to sleep. First I worried that they might kill me and now I find myself here, where I am trying to close my store because they will take everything,” Mahmoud said.

“The government says that we are welcome here, but that is not the truth. These people will take everything and take your life. We are outcasts.”

The shopkeeper, who has plied his trade in Syria, said South Africa had become hell on earth.

“This is what we have been reduced to… running for our lives. We are trying desperately to leave, but all the trucks are busy. All the brothers are trying to flee.”

Earlier in the night, another Somali-owned shop in a shipping container was doused in paraffin, but police chased the vandals away before they could set it alight.

In Lindelani, police rushing to the scene of a shooting happened upon a shop where the owners were clearing out their stock. Police had seen a group of South Africans closing in and warned them off, only to be pelted with rocks and stones.

Read more on:    durban  |  looting  |  xenophobia

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