Foreign shop owners still struggling

A closed shop on Usasazi Street in Du Noon, Cape Town. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare.

Most foreign national shop owners in Dunoon are struggling to re-establish their businesses a month after the shops were looted by the residents following housing protests.
Some have completely closed down and moved to other places while others have gone back to their respective countries. Elitsha tried to call some shop owners whose shops were closed but they never answered the calls.

Dunoon Clinic, Cape Town, South Africa

Recently, Elitsha visited Dunoon and spoke to some victims of the looting.

“The looting has taken us back. My business was doing very well at the time of the disaster. I am struggling to get back to track,” says Malvern Sadia a Zimbabwean who was busy packing refrigerators and television sets that were waiting for either sale or repair.

Sadia, 40 and operating a shop in Usasaza street lost R30,000 worth of goods during the looting. He has been in the business for 9 years and people trust him.
“Do not be surprised to find the shop full again it is because people trust my work,” he says.

He suggests that in such incidents police should come out in full force and bring to book perpetrators and that government should quickly respond to the residents’ demands.

A young Somali boy inside the tent of Soetwater refugee camp in Cape Town in 2008. Photo: Sharon McKinnon.

James Chop, a shop assistant at a Cameroonian-run furniture shop says, “It is a shocking experience. Everything in the shop was looted while police were just watching and I was hiding.”

Chop says they only resumed the business after 2 to 3 weeks.

Representative of the foreign nationals, Papy Babilole Sherezi from the DRC, runs a hair salon. He says that they are prepared to talk to the locals for a lasting solution. He lost R15,000 worth of goods. He is currently using borrowed machines for the salon.

A community leader who identified himself as Wanda echoed the same sentiments as the foreign nationals.

“We live in disadvantaged areas and the government does not take much care about our concerns. I think we need to engage with government and come up with a lasting solution.”
He believes foreigners are a source of inspiration and they generate employment by running shops.
“We also want to make a living out of these foreign nationals. It is hard to live without them in our communities.”
However the general atmosphere in Dunoon according to both foreign nationals and locals is still tense.

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About Bernard Chiguvare 56 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.