South Africans unite to rebuild Mzansi

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The aftermath of the looting after protests in three provinces.
The aftermath of the looting after protests in three provinces.
Marco Longari

Cleaning, rebuilding, protection or even restocking – South Africans are coming together to help devastated shop keepers clean up following widespread protests. 

Looters have run rampage through malls, shopping centres and shops for a week after protests broke out in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and in Pietermaritzburg.

The protests started when former President Jacob Zuma was arrested and sent to prison for 15 months after he was found guilty of contempt of court. 

Since then, businesses have been counting the cost, which for some is in the millions. 

But there is hope on the horizon. 

Read more | Retail shopping centres damaged by unrest

Thousands of good Samaritans are coming together to help businesses and individuals by volunteering to clean up communities and help restore order.

Students have taken to the streets armed with brooms and bins, and others have offered their time and expertise in various areas, especially to small business owners. 

Rebuild South Africa is a Facebook group that gained momentum overnight as people tried to find tangible solutions.

The group was started by Emelda Masango, who first offered her services to help clean up in the group I Know A Guy. Soon the post had thousands of responses, with others offering their own. It then became a whole new page. 

“The initiative has taken flight, we have been contacted by numerous agencies, companies, media outlets and volunteers. We have been inundated with people who genuinely care about South Africa. The true spirit of ubuntu,” Emelda said in the group.

“I didn’t expect this small act of kindness to reach so many people. I am proud and overwhelmed,” she told GroundUp

rebuild south africa
She started the initiative and can not believe the number of people that they managed to reach

Though it's mostly people offering services, there are also offers of financial assistance from those who cannot be there physically. 

Themba Nxumalo from Kwa Zulu Natal is one of the individuals who has heeded the call to help rebuild South Africa.

He owns a construction company called Intando Construction which does roof repairs, plastering, and more.

“If you are in KZN and your property got damaged, I’m offering free services with our construction company to fix and renovate your shops so that you can get back to business,” he wrote on the Facebook page. 

rebuild south africa
Themba Nxumalo is one of the individuals who have offered to helo rebuild SA

Speaking to Drum, Themba tells us why it is crucial to unite during these turbulent times.

“Instead of killing our own economy it is time to stand together and rebuild. It was a very bad idea to start looting, even the protests were a bad idea, but now we must gather people and clean our town,” he says. 

Themba says they are helping mostly small businesses who have been targeted by looters.

“These individuals work very hard to make sure they put food on the table, at this point and with the situation we are facing right now, we thought instead of crying and talking about these things, let's be the change we want to see.

“Earlier today we started working on renovating some damaged properties, we also received a call from a local municipality, and we agreed to offer assistance. Tomorrow and on Friday will be going to other areas to assist, we also spoke to our community, and everyone has been complying as we clean up the area,” he tells Drum.

Themba has dispersed his team members all over Durban to help where it's needed. 

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