Randfontein Dump Residents: Africa Day dare not fail them

The tragedy in Verdwaal, North West, where four children walked 10km in search of their mother and food and DIED of starvation happened just a few months ago.  This incident led to the discovery of a huge rural community living the pangs of hunger daily.

Then came the Aurora Mines saga of opportunism and injustice; profits before people and capitalism before compassion.  The result: hungry miners unable to feed their families due to non-payment of salaries for over two years.  Some committed suicide, too embarrassed to face their wives and children because of their incapacity to provide.  Emasculated, dejected, exploited; death was the only solution.

And now another expose' of enormous human suffering at the Randfontein dump: 5000 people living in total indignity, sharing one tap and five long drop toilets, enduring the putrifying odour of a garbage disposal site, scavenging the dump "on a rotational basis" for weekly food; sick, hungry adults and children sharing space with animals, the elderly living with decomposing dead rats in shacks, too weak or ill to remove them.  Dirty adults, grubby children, chest, skin and other infections, no access to healthcare, HIV, unemployment, no schooling and child-headed households are but some of the social conditions this community has endured for twelve years. This is their life, this is the way they live; yet they plod on, hoping for a miracle, if not for them, then at least for their children who have aspirations to uplift themselves in order to escape this hell-hole.

Tragedies have a capacity to harness the innate potential of man, in this case it brings to the fore the spiritually driven, deep caring, ubuntu oriented South African society that stands up to be counted over and over again in spite of global economic uncertainty and personal limitations.  

In Verdwaal and in Aurora the response was vocal and swift.  Those communities are still being supported by Gift of the Givers till this day because of South African generosity.  The time to act has come again, a calling at our door, an appeal to our "softer" side that as a nation our people at the Randfontein dump are dependent on us; not that they have asked for even in the indignity of that life, their dignity and pride lies in the fact that their hands are not outstretched, symbolising the dignity of the people of Africa.  Africa Day and those 60 Heads of State currently in South Africa dare not fail them for this community is a microcosm of the "slums" of despair on the African continent.

Gift of the Givers has already responded with  blankets and daily hot nutritious meals.  Five additional toilets, five more taps, two 10 000 litre Jojo tanks, new clothing, shoes,  personal and domestic hygiene packs, toys, educational items, food parcels, sweets, biscuits, fruit, mattresses, sanitary pads, disposable nappies, bottled water and plastic dishes are all on the way.  Volunteers will engage on a special exercise on Sunday, 27 May 2012, washing and cleansing babies thoroughly.  Medical teams will be deployed and high energy and immune boosting protein supplements will be distributed to vulnerable individuals.  We certainly cannot change their situation but we can show them our love and our care.

Those wanting to support the community housed at the Randfontein dump could provide the items in kind mentioned above, make themselves available as medical or general volunteers, contribute medical supplies or make cash donations into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052137228, Branch Code 057525.  For details call toll-free 0800786911, Allauddin Sayed 0836677179, Emily Thomas 0836520315.