May 28, 2008
…I can’t get the stench of urine out of my nostrils. It’s the smell of fear, anger and humiliation.
I smelt it last night, when I spoke to the refugees outside Caledon Square police station. I saw it running thick in the gutters a couple of feet away from where people were sleeping. I smelt it again this morning, when I went round to advise them that lawyers and press were about to visit to take statements. The refugees were preparing to embark on a hunger strike. Theo, a published author from the DRC, was standing on a milk crate, addressing his comrades. They were refusing to abandon the pavement, in protest at their treatment by the government.
There must have been a whole lot of developments during the day which I was unable to track, as this evening they were being driven to a community hall in Sea Point, awaiting a visit by the provincial premier or his representative.
After talking to the refugees at Caledon Square, I crossed the road to the District Six Museum, to request they open up toilet facilities. Filled with righteous indignation at the doors I’d found barred the night before, I embarrassed myself fairly thoroughly, as it turned…….
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