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EXTRACTS FROM

'WE CAME FOR MANDELA'

The book is divided into different sections which reflect the cultural life of the refugee community. Here is a small selection for you to see.

Part 3 Memory, Footprints in the sand: section: Sayings and Photographs

 

I met a South African on a train. A man who does not know me. He was as black as I am and yet he called me kweri-kweri and spat on me. I did not say a word nor did I move. No one in the train said anything. On their faces no sympathy was shown.

Jean Pierre Molisho, Rwanda

 


Part 2 Revelation: lighting the Shadows: section, Expressions

 

Run my exhausted feet,
Away from the rumbling tanks
With power to revoke my life.

Run like the hurricane,
There's no time for farewell
No time for the luxury of tears.

Run ten toes tender on thorns,
Bleeding wounds, festering sores,
Life in exile will heal the pains.

Run breathless to the roaring sea
Into vessels without flags,
The old basket my bowler hat
Vain is the rituals of normal life.

Run across the horrendous border
To my neighbour's hostile domain,
Leaving is the only hope to stay alive
Hell is home for those behind.

 

Mazi Guinness, Nigeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolphine at play


Part 1 Exile: under a different sun covered by a new moon: section, Unforgotten fragrance

This is a traditional dish which we eat regularly. It is fairly inexpensive and in the village I come from we eat it nearly every day.

Alina Mukeshimana from Central Barundi

The Burundian people love burnt or blackened meat which we normally eat with pap or toast. The last time I cooked burnt meat was during the time of the fighting when people were fleeing and had to say goodbye to each other.

Mapendo Shirimana from Central Barundi

Ibijumbu
(sweet potatoes)

Ingredients
4 sweet potatoes

Method
Wash sweet potatoes and place in a cooking bag or any bag that will not melt. Tie the bag securely and place in a container of water on the stove. Allow to boil until the potatoes are done. Take potatoes out of bag. Remove the skin and serve hot or cold.

 

 

Ibihaza
(pumpkin with beans)

Ingredients
1 pumpkin
500 grams of butter beans
1 onion
2 tablespoons of palm oil
salt to taste

Method
Cook the beans in a little water until they are almost soft. Add the palm oil and the onion. Cut the pumpkin into chunks and put it with the beans. Cover the pot until it is done. Serve hot or cold.

 

I like to portray everyday life. A lot of my inspiration comes from familiar happenings. The creative process and production of artists in the Congo and South Africa are the same. Similar things occur in the townships here and elsewhere in Africa. I survive by my paintings which are sold in different galleries in Stellenbosch, at the Waterfront and in the Cape Town area. I have exhibited in Congo, Angola, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. In the Congo, I worked on newspapers and magazines as a cartoonist. My work has also appeared in book form.

Mackani Daïda, Angolan artist

Musicians, acrylic

African chic, acrylic

African musicians, acrylic


Part 4 Reality: stairway to nowhere: section, personal testimonies

My name is Béarice Uvimbabaye....I am a social worker by profession. I felt insecure in Rwanda because of the war. Many, many people were dying. I felt that soon I could be another casualty of the war. My parents were killed during the genocide in 1994 and I fled the country in that year. I returned in 1995 and soon got married.
When the killings started again my husband did not feel safe and left the country. I have not seen him since. He called me in Rwanda to ask me to withdraw all our money from the bank. Soon after that the feeling of danger intensified and I fled the country with my four children. I traveled to Tanzania, then on to Malawi and eventually to South Africa. I was alone throughout this terrible journey and faced many perils on the way. I was also robbed at the border of all our money.
I was arrested in South Africa and taken to prison. I explained my circumstances and was released. I met some people that I knew who gave me money to reach Cape Town. In South Africa my husband only spoke to me on the telephone and he blames me for losing all the money. As a black foreigner, I am not treated properly by the local people. Even at the clinic, I am approached in a very off-handed manner by staff and this puts more pressure on me. I had heard that South Africa is a good country where one can live peacefully. There is no malaria or war here.
The refugee camp in the Congo was okay for a while. Here life is hard. I had a house in Rwanda and here I have nothing. There are lots of women where my husband is living and it is easy for him to have another relationship. I am scared that if and when I do see him and if there have been any other relationships, I might be infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Maybe one day, the fighting will stop and then we can all go back home.


Part 2 Revelation: lighting the Shadows

We came for Mandela. We rejoiced in the victory of the people against the apartheid government and Mandela is also Africa's symbol of freedom. South Africa would be our garden of Eden, a respite from the madness back home. Now I wonder of South Africa will let me live to return home one day.

Peter Baya, Sudan