It took donations from Americans‚ Canadians and locals to raise money to buy a decent structure for Olivia Mokete‚ who was assaulted outside Luthuli House last month‚ to live in.
Dianne Bailey of Bryanston‚ Johannesburg‚ could not stand the sight of Mokete’s assault – which went viral after being captured by a Sunday Times photographer – and the picture of her little shack in Orange Farm‚ Extension 10‚ during a subsequent visit by journalists.
“When I saw the picture of Mrs Mokete being beaten in the streets‚ I’m not a political person‚ but it had to do with the dignity of the woman having being taken by a man far bigger than her. It broke my heart that we can treat each other this way. In my heart I know that South Africans are good people. I then thought what could I do that could be better than giving someone money or groceries and I saw the picture of her shack and I was moved‚” said Bailey.
Bailey put a note on her Facebook page and set up a BackaBuddy crowed funding page.
“Between 16 people – South Africans‚ expats from Zimbabwe who now live in London‚ Canadians and Americans – made contributions. Within less than a week‚ we had raised R10‚800‚” she said.
She found a small businessman who made the structures and she and family members went to Orange Farm. In a few hours the new structure was up. Soon the structure will be filled with some furniture to make it a dignified space for the Moketes.
What almost destroyed the life of Olivia and her husband‚ Robert Mokete‚ turned has somewhat turned into a blessing.
TimesLIVE visited the couple on Wednesday evening.
The Mokete’s old structure was still there‚ as the good Samaritans promised to first put some furniture into the new one before the couple move in.
“We are very happy with the new structure. It is good. It arrived on Saturday and we are excited about the whole thing‚” said Robert‚ as he met a reporter in his yard.
Olivia was not around. She had to walk a long distance from the shack just to get to a toilet. A few minutes later‚ she arrived‚ still limping from the assault. It was now beginning to drizzle.
“When the weather changes and becomes cold‚ I get pains on my ribs because of that attack‚” Olivia explained.
Robert added that the family was not happy with the fact that they opened a case after the assault‚ but very little had happened.
“We opened the case in Orange Farm and it was transferred to Johannesburg Central. One police officer came to fetch the [police] form and that was it. Nothing else has happened since then‚” said Robert.
Inside the Mokete’s old shack were just a few plastic chairs‚ buckets with water and pots. There is no concrete floor.
Robert explained how they cope with their situation.
“We don’t sleep here. We can’t‚ as you can see. We go to my brother-in-law’s shack where we sleep. We just cook and eat here‚” he said.
He admitted that it was difficult to live in Extention 10. There is no water‚ electricity and toilets. There are also no roads.
Extention 10 is a piece of land along Golden Highway just before the entrance of Orange Farm. A group of residents decided to take over the land and give it to anyone who needed it.
Last week‚ the City of Johannesburg joined the Gauteng department of settlements in a court order stopping people from invading this piece of land.
While the politics on land and the legal issues continue‚ the Moketes are just happy that soon they will sleep in their own shack.