09 February 2009

The X files

Based on an interview with SOFJ student, Xetsha Hlongwane, from Zimbabwe.

Xetsha , or "X" as we like to call him, came to the SOFJ from Zimbabwe, where his family still lives. Amidst political instability, humanitarian crisis and experiencing the bias of local newspapers, X looked for a chance to build his skills and abilities of communication to help his parents and community.

"I was disgusted about the way local journalists would report," X explains, "For example, with cholera, the papers wouldn't have anything. Thousands would die and they wouldn't say anything. I thought if I could be a writer myself I could write about issues that affect people."

X comes from a family that supports orphans in Zimbabwe. His parents run a home in a small community taking care of about 80 orphans and children. Before coming to Muizenberg he was part of communicating the needs of the ministry to donors and sponsors. While thousands have fled his home country, X says his parents just couldn't
leave. "I love Cape Town, it is a great place to be, but it will never be home. There will always be that element that misses home."

The church in Zimbabwe is attempting to be a safe place for the people and address issues facing the country, X says what keeps them going is faith and prayer. "It is difficult to address issues that are illegal. For example, border jumping. . . it is not right, but people don't have options. [What they do] it's their only source of income." Pastors in Zimbabwe are finding it difficult to address the issues like not having proper travel documents and money laundering without leading people to be jobless and starving. In addition, X explains that all pastors have to pray before teaching and be well versed with the law, "You really have to be led by God and rely on Him because you never know who would be listening and there is so much you just can't say."

"We are just hoping," says X, "there is hope in the people."
Xetsha is considering doing more studies in communication in the future.

Darcie Nolan

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