Taurai Mari is from Zimbabwe, but he will be spending the December holidays in Cape Town. He has saved money to visit the city’s tourist destinations.
He visited his family in Zimbabwe in June to avoid spending lots of money on transport in December. However he will send money home to his family for Christmas.
Mari also cited the current political stability and ruling party –Zanu PF– squabbles as a reason for not going to Zimbabwe now.
Many of Cape Town’s immigrants stay in the city over the holiday season because it is simply too expensive to visit the country of their birth.
Grace (not her real name), a 31-year-old woman from the DRC who sells craftware at Greenmarket Square says that all her savings will be used up if she visits her family. “Just for a one way air ticket, me and my seven-year-old child will need R8,000. Where will I get money to come back? In January my child should go to school. I should save money for her train ticket, stationery and school uniforms.”
“Business is low. Since yesterday I have not sold anything. When business is good I take home R400. On Christmas day I will go to church in the morning. In the afternoon I will prepare lots of food. I am expecting my relatives from Hout Bay to visit us,” says Grace.
For Fatou Idrissa, who is a Muslim man from Senegal, Christmas is just an ordinary day. He will be relaxing at home in Brooklyn. He cannot travel to Senegal because he cannot afford the return flight of between R9,000 and R12,000. He remembers when he used to live in Senegal that during Christmas time, Christians and Muslims united and shared goodies.
Erick Msomela is a Malawian man living in Woodstock. He said going to Malawi at this time would cost him R1,500 one-way. He says his siblings and extended family expect a lot from him, so he won’t go. Instead of “wasting the money on bus fare”, he will send it to his mother’s three sisters to buy groceries.
He says that In Malawi Christians like him go to church. When they come back they feast on fancy food. He says Muslim children visit their Christian friends and enjoy the luxury food.
Paul (not his real name), an informal trader from Cameroon who works at the Grand Parade, believes Christmas is for government or corporate employees to enjoy their bonuses. “An informal trader like me will be here in the morning on Christmas day selling my stuff. South Africans have already left for Eastern Cape and other foreigners with white collar jobs are already in their countries of origin for the holiday.”
“I like drinking beer and clubbing but I do not drink Christmas time. I know a lot of people who have died at this time. I am cautious, I do not travel even locally. If I am needed somewhere, I would rather use a train.”
Source : GroundUp