Murwira Revisited

The no-man’s land in between Musina, South Africa, and Beit Bridge, Zimbabwe, is a dusty tangle of long lines and barbed wire, all divided by the Limpopo River. I had crossed this border in February but was shepherded through the process by a Greyhound bus driver in the haze before dawn. This crossing I make …

Blankets

In South Africa, poverty is in your face. Every day I walk past a squatter camp, just a couple shacks made of sticks and plastic bags and doors that look to be cardboard boxes. Tall grass covers the lives of the people who live in this tiny lot, little more than an median between two …

By the Lake

I set out on foot for the “church by the lake” at dawn, but impending rain bent the early light into gloom. Johannesburg is a city for drivers despite the rampant poverty. The sidewalks are broken, disintegrating, or nonexistent, especially along the walls of the wealthy Afrikaaner neighborhood I was walking through. A Rotarian from …

Wits

This week, the African Centre for Migration and Society held orientation for its new masters students. All nine of us are foreigners: one American, two Congolese, two Ugandans, three Zimbabweans, one French woman. (I’ve already enlisted the Francophones to help me with my French and the Zimbabweans to help me with my Shona.) Most of …

Lions

Johannesburg is a sprawling city, spread out over highveld in Gauteng (place of gold) province. This weekend, a South African, two Australians, and I drove out of the city, which seemed to go on and on – downtown giving way to endless suburbs. Finally outside of the city, the rolling hills seemed as infinite as …

The Orphanage

After twenty-six hours of travel – including a five-hour delay on the side of the highway when the bus broke down and a six hour ride in a mini-bus called a “combi” – I arrived in the dark, in the rain, on the doorstep of a woman I have come to consider family. Many throughout …