Following Berlin’s decision to temporarily introduce border controls to regulate the worsening refugee crisis, CapeTalk’s John Maytham speaks to a man who walked most of his journey from Rwanda to South Africa seeking refuge.
Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase fled the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. Inspired by the belief that life would finally get better if he met Nelson Mandela, he trekked to South Africa.
My mother said to me, son I want you to leave and I said leave and go where. She threw her hands in the air and said I don’t know, just go— Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase, Author and Motivaltional speaker
In a journey in which he nearly died, Pie-Pacifique entered South Africa illegally through Mozambique with people smugglers.
I was aware of what was happening and came with fear, not only the fear of xenophobia from black South Africans but also racism from white South Africans— Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase, Author and Motivational speaker
He became a car attendant in front of the University Of KwaZulu Natal (UKN), and eventually got someone from the university to allow him to study there.
I was humbled by the people I knew from my country as politicians, teachers and nurses who were also in the streets with me as car guards— Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase, Author and Motivational speaker
He eventually got his degree, and then was awarded a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, when he eventually met Mandela.