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Two South African students recall their experience of fleeing Kyiv

Police brutality and racism: two South African students recall their experience of fleeing Kyiv

Thembeka Mthombeni from Mpumalanga and Kelebogile Makoro from Pretoria are now in Poland with a South African family.

Ukrainian citizens are seen arriving at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in their country, in eastern Poland, on February 27, 2022. Photo: Wojtek RADWANSKI/AFP

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – Two South African students who managed to flee Ukraine to Poland have described their journey as terrifying and gruesome.

Thembeka Mthombeni from Mpumalanga and Kelebogile Makoro from Pretoria are now in Poland with a South African family.

Speaking on CapeTalk on Wednesday morning, Mthobeni described fleeing Kiev to Poland after the Russian invasion, where homes were destroyed and hundreds of lives lost, as a “horrible” experience.

“It was really stressful, and our bodies literally went into survival mode. That’s how bad it was. We made it across the border on Sunday. But the journey was really crazy; we experienced a lot of brutality police, racism. It was really a horrible experience,” said Mthobeni.

Since Russia’s decision to wage war on Ukraine a week ago, the country has seen nearly 700,000 people flee the country, including local Ukrainians and African migrants. However, many African migrants have complained of being sidelined and ostracized as they also attempted to cross borders into neighboring European Union countries.

Late last month, Clayson Monyela of the Department of International Relations tweeted that South Africans and other Africans were being mistreated on the Ukraine-Poland border.

Makoro said it was terrifying and dangerous to try to cross the border: “You hear sirens constantly sounding, jostling all moving in one direction. People are so scared that everyone is scrambling. There is no command. Ukrainians were generally given priority over all people of color.

On Wednesday morning March 3, 2022, Monyela tweeted that all South African students in Ukraine were safe and seeking refuge in various neighboring countries and were being sent back to South Africa.

The African Union and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have condemned the treatment of Africans fleeing the country and called on other leaders on the continent to ensure that their people in Ukraine find safety.

Russian forces landed in Ukraine’s second-largest city and sparked immediate clashes in the streets of Kharkiv, the military said.

“THE FIRST BOMB exploded while I was sleeping”

Mthombeni recalls being woken up by her friend and roommate when the first bomb went off in the city of Kyiv:
“My friend came to my room and asked me if I had heard the bomb that had just exploded. The first thing we did was take our documents and put them in our backpacks. I quickly called my parents, who called their parents to inform them of the situation that was happening. We called the ambassador, but he said he didn’t know about the bombing, then he told us to travel west.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:

As Ukraine continues to defy Russia’s attack, a number of explosions in the Ukrainian capital and in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, were reported over the seven days. On Tuesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that a television tower in Kyiv had been bombed, claiming the lives of five people.

The Ukrainian president asked for help from the United States and the United Kingdom, calling for “significant and continued assistance in the fight against aggression. Together with partners we stand for.”



Two South African students recall their experience of fleeing Kyiv

Source link Two South African students recall their experience of fleeing Kyiv

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