The window is closing for refugees and asylum seekers protesting in Cape Town to either reintegrate into local communities or repatriate. But a small group of 'hardliners' are holding on to the vain hope of resettlement to Canada - a promise made to them by persuasive leaders who have since been deported or imprisoned.
Jean-Pierre Balous, Papy Sukami and Aline Bukuru made headlines as the leaders of an ongoing protest against xenophobic violence in South Africa.
In the demonstration, which began in October 2019 outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cape Town, hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers demanded resettlement to Canada.
After being forcibly removed from the UNHCR offices, the group occupied the Central Methodist Church on Greenmarket Square. This continued until the Covid-19 pandemic struck when the group, which had split into two factions, was moved to separate, temporary shelters at Paint City and Wingfield.
The camps are now earmarked for closure on 15 May.
Protesters who had pinned their hopes on a one-way ticket to Canada are now left with two options: To reintegrate into communities in and around Cape Town, or be voluntarily repatriated...