ADOPTED FROM THE CAPE-ARGUS ( 24/12/2009)
A 17 year old Zimbabwean refugee set out on a 200km walk today,without provisions to shed light on the plight of Zimbabwean children who brave the perilous journey to South-Africa
Ephraim Ntlamo made that some journey from Zimbabwe to South-Africa with about 26 other illegal immigrants last year
He said they had walked for 100km and had swum the Limpopo River, where they came across bodies of people who had been trying to escape to South- Africa.
Ntlamo started at Hangklip light house at 9am today and plans to arrive at the Cape-Agullas lighthouse on January 2 with only his note book, which he will use to document every day of the journey.
On his blog Ntlamo talks about the importance of his journey today.
”What’s symbolic about the lighthouse to me is when I fled Zimbabwe for South-Africa, I did not know exactly where I was going to end up, but i was following the brightness of the lights from far away and it’s where I believed hope was.”
He said he hoped to gain the Zimbabwean government’s attention so they could consider creating a national holiday or memorial for children who died in Zimbabwe during political violence and while trying to flee the country.
”I also want the Zimbabwean to be accountable for it’s children in exile by considering the influx of Zimbabwean children into neighbouring countries as a crisis and therefore put something reasonable in place to get them back to Zimbabwe.
”You can not talk about fixing the economy or the country when half a million children between the ages of 14 and 18 are in foreign countries without any skills, What do you expect them to be when that economy is fixed ? Criminals ”he said
Ntlamo also said the Zimbabwean government responsible for the immense suffering of Zimbabwean children in foriegn countries should put centres in place that would accommodate returnees and those should be run by international children’s organisations like Unicef and not ”former state thugs.”
He said he would be asking for food from people along the journey,in the same manner he did when he was coming to South-Africa.
”I will be resting anywhere without a blanket; if it rains, I will keep on as there was no way to hide from the rain on my way to South -Africa,” he said
Last night Ntlamo,who now has asylum seeker status in the country, said he was feeling excited about the journey.
He said it the perfect time to shed light on the issue of immigrant children as they would be vulnerable to human traffikers during the World cup.
Ntlamo said he did not have a structured plan for his walk as he’d had none when coming to South- Africa.
He will, however, be passing through Hanglip, Silver Sands, Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Fisher Haven, Hawston, Hermanus, Stanford, Die Kelders, Gansbaai, Franskraal Strand, Strandskloof, Baardskeerderbos, Vogelvlei, Struis Bay and Cape Agulh.
DUE TO TRANSPORT INCONVIENCE I HAD TO CHANGE THE ROUTE….…….