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COVID-19: S’ African migrants face hunger, xenophobia during lockdown

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GRIM eyed women and children waiting for relief in form of any prospect having a full belly is daily sight across South African cities and slums.

  A scene that played out in the parish of Mayfair just outside the centre of Johannesburg says the gory sights in no uncertain terms.

  In a country considered by the World Bank to be the most unequal in the world, many of these luckless people now have nothing.

  Harsh effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on migrants are being blamed as well as new wave of xenophobia that forces them away from where they usually fend for themselves. This made many foreigners living in the country to have no work.

According to a Congolese citizen who has lived in South Africa for two decades, Alfred Djang, the slow pace of easing the lockdowns is not helpful.

  “I see a lot of community members suffering because of this lockdown. Some had been working in shops.  They were selling things on street corners, but they are not allowed to do it anymore. They don’t have permits so they need to beg for food here and theres,” Djang said.

  Although South Africa is the continent’s second-largest economy and magnet for millions of refugees and migrants from elsewhere, the vast majority of them depend on day-to-day work. But this informal source of income catastrophically dried up from one day to the next because of the lockdown.

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