They come by the thousands across the dangerous border leading from Zimbabwe into South Africa where they hope an escape can be found from hunger, poverty, and disease that President Mugabe’s policies have created in their native land. They are the children of war, condemned to live in poverty on the fringes of South African society. Prince Jelom is a 13 year-old refugee who fled Zimbabwe and now sleeps in a bus shelter or works an 11 hour day selling eggs or carrying bags or doing whatever will get him some food for the day. He told a reporter that he left Zimbabwe because he wanted to go to school and needed money for books and paper. “Many people told me that if you are not learned, you are nothing” and he simply wanted an education and food.
The street children can be found in South African cities, they have dreams but absolutely no understanding how to translate them into reality. They obtain a night’s lodging at a church and some food for the day, but most of the time they are scrounging for survival while slowly hopes for school get replaced with securing enough food for the day. They are the casualties of Robert Mugabe’s war on his own people.
South African leaders prefer supporting their long term ally, Robert Mugabe for old services in the fight against colonialism rather than being concerned about current needs of the children of Zimbabwe.