I call it home

The dictionary definition for a home is “a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household” but for many, the reality is that where you lay your head down is where you call home. Many residents of Johannesburg have travelled from far and wide to find greener pastures; they have made this vibrant city their home while they hustle to provide for their families who are left at home, hoping for a better life. As the child of a working class family from the rural Eastern Cape, I know all too well how it feels to have to recreate a home, far away from home. You find this foreign space, with cold, unfamiliar walls and you somehow need to turn it into your home, so you do that, you add items that represent you and remind you of the place you left behind, so that the one you are now in, can feel just as warm and loving as the home you left. You had facets of yourself, personal belongings and eventually you get used to that space, it becomes your place of comfort, your serene sense of bliss, where you rest your tired body after a hard day’s work; but what happens when that “home “is taken away from you? What happens when your personal belongings are dumped on the pavement and when the place you called home is secured with barbed wire to keep you out? The dictionary does not give a definition for how a home is acquired and for many people in the city of gold the homes they have aren’t really theirs. Over the past couple of weeks many residents in the Johannesburg CBD have been subjected to evictions and have been displaced from their temporary city “homes “and in angry retaliation these residents have opted to burn the buildings down. The people who evict the residents are just doing their jobs, earning their keep. But in the process many people are left homeless and many of them are unable to return to their homelands because the reason they are in the city is to provide for the people back home. In the city of gold, many are foreigners, who’ve come here for opportunities and success many of us create homes to shelter us while we are here, but what is left for us when those homes are taken away?

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Residents collect theirr personal belongings, 8 October 2015, in the Johannesburg CBD, after been evicted. The eviction saw a large number of the buildings illegal residents forced into the street due to security reasons. Picture: Tshepiso mabula

People's belongings are pictured, 8 October 2015, in the Johannesburg CBD, after been evicted. The eviction saw a large number of the buildings illegal residents forced into the street due to security reasons. Picture: Tshepiso mabula

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Residents collect theirr personal belongings, 8 October 2015, in the Johannesburg CBD, after been evicted. The eviction saw a large number of the buildings illegal residents forced into the street due to security reasons. Picture: Tshepiso mabula

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