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Stuck Offshore


Nadia Khan, an international student from South Africa, speaks about the overwhelming situation and desperately calls for action to be able to return to Australia to finish her studies.

Being an offshore international student during a pandemic is difficult, but being an offshore international student from South Africa became a whole lot worse.

As if the COVID-19 pandemic, daily power outages, and a massive time difference is not enough, the country is literally burning to the ground and is on the brink of a civil war.

July has been a tough month for South Africa, specifically the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

After former president Jacob Zuma was sent to prison, his supporters began looting. It got out of control extremely fast.

To give you a glimpse of what has been happening in the month of July:

  • Almost every major shopping center and store in KwaZulu-Natal has been looted beyond repair or burnt to the ground. There is a severe food shortage.

  • The port of Durban, one of the most critical economic hubs on the African continent, was looted as well as the surrounding warehouses.

  • Massmart, Makro, and other big wholesalers have been looted continuously and burnt to the ground. The damage and theft caused by the looters are already in the billions.

  • Chemical plants were burnt down releasing toxins into the air and into our oceans causing fish and crayfish to wash up dead on shore, and surrounding neighborhoods unable to breathe.

  • Race-fuelled violence has escalated dramatically and Indian communities have been described as a war zone. There are dead bodies lining the streets and vigilantism has taken over.

The police were delayed in their response which made citizens take matters into their own hands. People began setting up patrols all through the night and the firearms that came out of an average person’s home was shocking, who would have thought that the family you lived next door to had such a large array of firearms. Many people lost their lives as some people looted and others were forced to protect their communities.

Although things have eased up in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the violent protests and looting that broke out has cost the South African economy well over R20bn, which is equivalent to approximately 1.8 billion Australian dollars.

This looting has caused a ripple effect. In Cape Town, there are taxi riots with average citizens being killed in the crossfire. People cannot get to and from work as minibus taxis are their only mode of transport from their areas, which are usually rural areas.

As things begin to ease in South Africa, we are still facing the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people and countries have it hard at the moment, but as an International student in South Africa it weirdly seems harder.

There is an abundance of international students trapped offshore, but regardless of where we come from, whether it is a Red List country or a Green List country, we all deserve to be onshore to complete our studies and not feel as if we are not capable of doing well in our studies due to circumstances we did not ask to be a part off in our home country. We should not be punished for the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic or any other issues taking place in our country.

South African students studying offshore have had it tough, please pray for South Africa.

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