Twitter page @refugees

African refugees in Bellville Cape Town feel unsafe

Hundreds of refugees have been living in tents that were established in Bellville and Wingfield since the start of Covid 19 in


Twitter page @refugees

Preparations are underway to celebrate Africa Day on Thursday, but this day is bittersweet for African refugees living in South Africa. Refugees from different countries in Africa feel unsafe, they have been living in tents in Cape Town. they were placed in tents at the beginning of covid restrictions in March 2020.

In 2019, they were part of a group that had staged a protest outside the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They refused to be reintegrated into local communities or to be sent back home. They would rather be settled in other countries where they feel they would be safer than they currently are. 

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Refugees in Bellville told Eyewitness News, that they thought running away from their war-torn countries and coming to South Africa would leave them secure. However, refugee leader in Bellville, Caroline Shemi shared with Eyewitness News that, that was not the case. She, herself had been a victim of a violent crime in Cape Town.

“I am one of those victims that we saw there, house burning, getting raped in front of your husband, doing different things. I will never be surprised, and I will never be ashamed to say what happened to me”. Shemi said.

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500 refugees living in bad conditions in Cape Town Camp

In November last year, refugees staged a protest at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Cape Town and Pretoria. They demanded to be resettled in a country other than South Africa.  After the protest, the UNHCR managed to reintegrate 800 refugees back into communities.

A total of 500 refugees, that included 200 children remained in Paint City in Bellville. They refused to return to South African communities and clung to a dream of relocated to another country. During their stay in the camp, they had water outages and had to make toilets with wooden pallets placed on the ground, while the men used sandpit. Food was prepared for the whole camp on an open fire. One of the asylum seekers gave birth and did not bathe for 3 days due the water shortage.

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