A Zimbabwean woman based in South Africa has assisted 15 locals who had become destitute in the neighbouring country by facilitating their return home.
Nobuhle Virginia Ajiti from Sizinda, Bulawayo has assisted over 15 stranded Zimbabweans in Johannesburg with food, clothing and transport back home after spending years living on the streets. Ms Ajiti runs a soup kitchen in Johannesburg which gives food to people living on the streets.
In an interview, Ms Ajiti said the programme started after she realised that some Zimbabweans wanted to return home but had no means to do so.
“I started a soup kitchen mid-last year which is when some of the people came forward and shared their stories and pleaded for assistance to go back home to be reunited with their families,” she said.
She said a recent case involved a well known beggar from Tsholotsho, who used to operate in front of a supermarket in the Johannesburg Central Business District.
Siyabonga Zondo left for South Africa in 2009 but the grass proved less greener on the other side and has been begging since.
He has since been assisted to return home. Ms Ajiti also said three of the 15 she assisted have started working through her initiative as some Zimbabwean company owners pledged to hire them back home.“I do not insist on getting just anyone back home.
I wait for those who are saying ‘I have struggled enough’ as a street dweller, I am homeless jobless, then I get up and seek assistance from well wishers and get them back home,” she said.
Ms Ajiti added that the problem with helping someone who is not ready to come back home is that they will most likely go back to South Africa and suffer the same fate. Being an activist since 2011, the 35-year-old Good Samaritan has also assisted 22 Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors back home.
“Posting on my Facebook page always gets me volunteers, new cases that need my attention like struggling migrant families, GBV victims, drug addicts and so forth. When these people are going home volunteers always come forward, some pledge groceries, hair cuts, new clothes, and groceries among many.”
She said her wish was to work closely with the Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa as some people had no travel documents.
“Getting some GBV victims into shelters is a hustle as most would not have relevant documents. Working closely with the embassy might assist me in these issues and more.”