Nikki Rixon

Paved with Gold Photo Essay by nikkirixon1

Paved with Gold is a photo essay documenting the courage in the face of adversity of Zimbabweans living in South Africa:

Paved with Gold

“Away From Home” Photo Essay by nikkirixon1

I recently completed a photo essay as an assignment for a course run by Gary Knight of VII agency. A slideshow of some of the images can be seen here:

There is a significant population of Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa. They have been driven from their homeland by the corrupt government regime led by Robert Mugabe, and have come to South Africa in the hope of building a better  life.

The transition for many is difficult. They come with little or no money, consequently experiencing extreme living conditions on their arrival. The South African government has decreed that all immigrants who have not met the 31st December 2010 deadline for submission of residency application paperwork will be deported. This has compounded the stress of their situation.

Despite the hardships they encounter, the Zimbabweans I have met are positive and welcoming which I find deeply inspiring. I want to highlight the trials the Zimbabweans face on a daily basis whilst demonstrating their optimistic attitude and persistence in the face of adversity.

Many of the Zimbabweans I photographed are proactive by nature and exhibit entrepreneurial spirit in establishing their own craft businesses. The huge potential for exploitation notwithstanding, they find their feet and make their mark – contributing to the local economy and growth of South Africa as a whole. Given that they are resolute, highly motivated self-starters, they are not a drain or burden on South African society. They adapt well to their circumstances without any governmental aid or intervention.

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