As the Parktown tragedy proves, SA really can embrace refugees

Ideas

As the Parktown tragedy proves, SA really can embrace refugees

This country is notorious for its xenophobia. Then Enoch Mpianzi and Triphin Mudzvengi touch our humanity

Columnist

Sometimes, thankfully, we embrace the African refugee.

Two African refugee children found unexpected embrace in xenophobic South Africa. The one was, of course, Enoch Mpianzi, the newly enrolled Grade 8 pupil from Parktown Boys’ High School who drowned in the Crocodile River while his teachers brushed off his absence after a watersport event. Enoch’s parents came to South Africa fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a murderous hotbed of gangsters in suits who not only stole elections but exterminated hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees from nearby Rwanda.

The Mpianzis arrived in South Africa dirt poor and found themselves in one of the poorest categories of schools (Quintile 1, in government language), where he stood out and excelled in subjects such as mathematics. It was a badge of honour for Brixton Primary School that this academic whizz kid could catapult himself into one of the elite boys’ schools (Quintile 5, mind you) in the country...

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