As the coronavirus is spreading and ravaging around the globe, many people and things are suffering. Economically, most countries especially African states, have suffered a blow in their economic sectors. Many people are losing their jobs driving them to do other things to survive and prevent poverty encroaching in their homes. The sad thing is that the coronavirus is not factoring anyone out. It is affecting everyone alive. From the poor to the rich, from the healthy to the ones who live with disabilities such as blindness. The struggle of blind Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa amid the pandemic is a clear sign.
According to reports, there are visually impaired migrants from Zimbabwe who live in the poor neighborhoods of South Africa. The coronavirus has affected South Africa the most in the continent as the government-imposed restrictions such as curfew and lockdown which have affected millions of South African. Here are the stories of some Zimbabwean migrants who are living by the grace of God.
The Story Of Gonese
Jethro Gonese is a Zimbabwean immigrant who is living and struggling in South Africa. He is 60 years old and is living in a small stuffy room around the neighborhood. Gonese has been sightless since he was 2 years old after suffering from a severe attack of measles. Gonese has successfully finished his education and has trained as a teacher for the blind. However, South Africa did not acknowledge his qualifications forcing him to turn to beg to survive.
Jethro, as one of the voices of the blind, says that after coronavirus hit the continent a lot of things have changed drastically. The blind people use the sense of touch for direction but in this pandemic, it is a challenge because they are afraid to contract the virus from contaminated surfaces.
Jethro says that touch is the main or central sense that helps them move around. Through the sense of touch, a blind person may identify things such as the texture of various surfaces. So, imagine how the blind are struggling to live and survive amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reports say that the neighboring people are even suffering more. The residents cannot afford to buy sanitizers or even the masks. They, therefore, have no choice but to live by begging on the streets of various cities.
The Story Of Enock Mukanhairi
Enock is also one of the Zimbabwean migrants who live under harsh conditions in South Africa. The 57-year-old man moved to the country 13 years ago due to the economic collapse of Zimbabwe. He decided to run in South Africa with his family too. Enock lives with Angeline Tazira, his wife, and 4 children. Enock and Angeline met at a school for the blind in Zimbabwe. Some interviewers who interviewed him say that the man is back to the begging business as there was an ease of the virus restrictions.
The hardest thing that he is facing is the location of people who speak via face masks and observed the social distancing rule.
“If you are putting a mask at times, we cannot hear your voice properly. Some of them cannot even release the voice tune which we are used to. So, it affects how quickly I can identify a person.”
I believe that the government has the responsibility to help and protect the rights of disabled people. It should ensure that the disabled have equal rights and are living better just like every other normal people.