Ngqabutho Nicolas Mabhena, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Please can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. I am the chairperson of Zimbabwe Community in South Africa.

What was your job in Zimbabwe?

I was a teacher by profession.

Why did you leave your home to come to South Africa?

Well, as you know, the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe is bad, and that’s why I left my country.

What do you do now, here in South Africa?

I am now a full-time activist in civil society. I lead the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa and also work with other projects.

Why did you choose South Africa?

I am from a village that shares two borders with South Africa and Botswana. So it was easier for me to come to South Africa. Secondly the language that I speak is Ndebele so when I am in any province in South Africa I am able to communicate with other people.

Is your family still in Zimbabwe or are they here in South Africa?

All of my family is here.

What are you plans for the future?

As a leader of Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, we are mobilising the Zimbabweans that are residents in South Africa to go home and vote during the next elections.

What are your experiences in South Africa?

At a personal level, I have never experienced any xenophobic attacks. But yes, the xenophobic violence really touched me. We did help those who were attacked in 2008 and built shelters in Midrand for the African national immigrants.

How do you feel about the recent xenophobic violence in Pretoria?

We are always concerned about why some Africans attack their fellow Africans. Unemployment in South Africa is high so it is easier for South Africans to blame African nationals who are working.

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