As I recently covered, a major problem in South Africa is xenophobia. Unfortunately, the backlash against foreigners isn’t new. However, continued frustrations regarding employment, education and crime gave way to a new rise in xenophobic acts. In recent weeks, foreign citizens have been attacked and stores looted.
But not all of South Africa believes these sentiments. Instead, many have taken to the streets to voice their displeasure while making calls for peace. In Dunoon, a small town in Milnerton, Cape Town, residents banded together to clean up their streets and restore its pride. With an array of ages, creeds and genders working on their cul-de-sac, the ten or so families of the oft-forgotten Dunoon made their neighborhood cleaner while demonstrating the power of a community. “Because people don’t take pride in Dunoon,” explains one young woman. “They don’t consider it their home. We’re trying to make people understand this is their home and they need to look after it.”
As the day moved on, the once dirt, garbage and glass-riddled cul-de-sac turned into a cleaner place for the residents to congregate in. Children and adults smiled throughout the clean up. “It’s a contrast, really, of what’s happening in other areas like Durban and Johannesburg where foreigners are being attacked and killed,” explained a local man. “Here, we actually united to make our home clean, to make it better.” Another man in the video praised the unity in Dunoon as something the community had prayed for quite some time.
In a neighborhood like Dunoon that is often overlooked, and even lacks a police station, it is great to see the community come together. Even when the nation is facing such troubling times, it is helpful to remind South Africans and the world that the country is far more than the actions of some.