South Africa: 'No Peace, No Safety, No Documents' - Refugees Plan 666km Walk to Namibian Border

analysis

Refugees camped out at the Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town are prepared to walk to Namibia if this week's negotiations with the UNHCR go poorly. But despite talk of a mass exodus, many seem willing to take up the case-by-case resettlement offer previously tabled by the refugee organisation.

Saeed Omar arrived in South Africa in 2011, fleeing violence in Somalia. Here, he found even less safety.

At first, Omar's papers allowed him to stay for six months. He managed to open a small shop in Philippi, eking out a living - until the store was burned down in a xenophobic attack. His papers burned with his livelihood. When he went to renew his asylum status at the Pretoria Home Affairs office, officials told him he couldn't do it without documentation.

On Monday morning, Omar packed his bags in preparation for the long walk to Namibia, alongside about 600 refugees who have been camped out in Cape Town's Central Methodist Mission since their forced eviction from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices at the city's Waldorf Arcade.

The refugees share similar stories of violence and persecution.

The walk to Namibia is a 666km-long trek through the Northern...

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