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Leaving for South Africa…

I walked into work early this morning and was surprised to see a long queue stretching along the road ahead of me, into the distance.  At first, I thought it was people waiting for buses home after the Easter break.  I then realised that the queue led to the South African Embassy and that people were waiting in line to get out of Zimbabwe and go to South Africa.  Someone was wandering along the line, trying to sell pens, paper, and what looked like passports!

South Africa has recently decided to allow Zimbabweans who have travelled across the border a ‘special dispensation’ permit – this confers on them the right to stay in South Africa for a period up to six months.  Most importantly, it allows them the right to work and to access basic health care.  Since unemployment is over 90% in Zimbabwe and the health system is struggling to get back on its feet, the long line for the South African Embassy starts to make sense.

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