‘Everyone has forgotten about the looting, but I lost my job and my home was destroyed’

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • Many South Africans, including migrants have lost their livelihoods from acts of violence and looting that the country has recently witnessed.
  • The days of violence and caused widespread destruction and deaths.
  • Ntombi* (33) from Durban, KZN was amongst the many South Africans who lost their jobs. This is her story on how her home was destroyed and she lost her job because of the looting.

I never thought my very own people and community would be the cause of my despair and heartache. I understand that we are all desperate and that the government’s corruption and conflict is what brought us here. I won’t justify it but I understand that people are tired of empty promises and the unemployment rate in our country is at a high - but what I don’t understand is the disruption.

I worked two jobs to put some bread on the table – I was a sales assistant at a clothing shop in town and a salon owner. All that has been taken away from me and the worst part is that my salon was at my house and that’s also been destroyed. Everything was broken when they ransacked my salon. They even took the little money that was there.

I thought the looters were doing this because they were hungry and needed to get food in abundance, not to put people’s lives at risk and destroy properties and homes.

I am now left to pick up the pieces. My daughter and I had to move in with a friend, until we find our feet again. I no longer have a job because it was also vandalised. What’s more sad is that some of these looters are community members who personally know me.

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I unfortunately didn’t even have insurance. I’ve witnessed so many people with new fridges, TVs and even washing machines in their homes from the looting. It’s a lot to process and its stressful for me because I have a daughter and I don’t know how long I’m going to live with my friend. Fixing my house will cost a lot of money that I don’t even have. They took the little I had.

I’m grateful for the few community members and strangers from the internet who have helped me. The help I received reminded me that there is still some good in our country. I intend on applying for a few jobs and hopefully with that money, I can rebuild my life. It won’t be easy but kuzolunga [it will be alright]. It can only get better from down here, I believe.

What’s happening in our country is scary, especially during this pandemic. I often ask myself how we’ll recover as a country but there’s still so much good about our country and we always recover and smile again. We will rise and hope will be restored. 

How were you affected by the looting? Do you have a story to share with us? Tell us here.

* Name has been changed

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