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Dirk-Jan Visser

"Zimbabwe Exodus"

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THIS IMAGE: In 2002 the house of the Chimala family was destroyed by ZANU-PF members because the family openly supported the MDC during the elections at that time. Two children of the family died in the raid of their home. On October 1st 2005 Frank Chimala was abducted by ZANU-PF, and nobody has heard from him since then. Here relatives of Frank Chimala in his house in the neigbourhood of Dzivarasekwa outside Harare.

STORY SUMMARY: The Political and economical crisis in Zimbabwe is getting at an alarming rate and becoming worse every day. President Robert Mugabe is with his leading political party ZANU-PF ruling the country as a dictator what results in a growing international isolation. Zimbabwe, once the granary of Africa is expecting an inflation rate of 4600 percent at the end of this year. 85 percent of the population is unemployed over 4 million people are starving every day. Every month thousand of peoples are dying because of the effects of HIV/AIDS, shortages of food and the devastation in the medical sector. Because of the rising inflation, the shortages of food and fuel and the arrests of people who are demonstrating against the regime, a true exodus arised to neighbour countries, especially to South Africa. According the International Red Cross everyday around 8000 people arriving from Zimbabwe in South Africa.

In November 2007 I visited Southern Africa to make a photo reportage on the diaspora from Zimbabwe. I started my journey in Zimbabwe to find out that the people are leaving there country because of the economical malaise which results in a food shortage a lake of cash and the bad medical treatment. Most of them cross the border with South Africa illegally by getting over the Limpopo river, which is overloaded with crocodiles, gangs who rob and rape them and military who hunt them down. When these people reach the other site they desperately want to go to Johannesburg, the city of hope. When they managed to reach Johanneburg these people find out that the reality is different than they expected. A lot of them can not find a job or the ones who do, getting under paid most of the time. They are homeless and find a place to sleep in the Methodist church down town Johannesburg, which is packed every night. People back home expect money and food of them because they managed to reach the promise land.



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