“#WELOVESOUTHAFRICA” SAY SA CHINESE AS ONGOING LOCKDOWN INCREASES STRAIN ON LOCAL COMMUNITIES
By Natasha Adonis
As South Africans continue to endure the ongoing lockdown, local Chinese communities around the country are doing their bit to help support their neighbours through a countrywide campaign, #WeLoveSouthAfrica. According to The Chinese Association (TCA), the campaign has sparked various acts of kindness around the country, from Gauteng to the Northern Cape, in a show of solidarity in the collective fight against CoVid-19.
Erwin Pon, Chairperson of TCA says, “Through these campaigns we want to encourage every Chinese living in South Africa to commit to positively contributing to the country in some way. We are part of the community and, as such, we want to be part of its solutions. One of the core lessons we have learned from this pandemic, is that we must work together. And, it is good to see that Chinese people all around SA are heeding the call to lend support to local communities who are struggling the most in this period. These are not one-off events. We are determined to play our part in continuing to assist these communities, as we deal with the impacts of CoVid-19 together.”
Businessman and Director of the China Mall in Amalgam Johannesburg Mr. Robin Xu says that he put out a call to his tenants for contributions towards food parcels for people living in Soweto. “In just a few days, we had gathered enough supplies to make up 1125 food parcels, valued at more than R300k. Through local NGOs, we were able to identify vulnerable communities to share with – such as university students living in residence in Soweto whose lives and livelihoods have been particularly affected by the lockdown,” says Xu.
“The phenomenal response from our tenants is evidence of the camaraderie we feel in South Africa. Chinese people living here want to play a positive role in the country, especially in times of crisis. We love this country, and we are in this fight together. This lockdown has been tough on us all and is disrupting our personal lives and the economy. This virus knows no borders, but it has been good to see that the worst of times often reveal the best in people!” says Xu. Xu and his team handed over their contributions on Saturday, 9 May in Pimville Soweto.
“We just want to show that the Chinese community cares about the local people and we want to work together with the local society to fight against the virus and to overcome the difficulties it brings, together. This is a very horrible virus and it will take a long time to deal with. We must be ready to come out anytime, to help the local community,” adds Xu.
Ward Councillor Raynett Moabi, who identified some of the beneficiaries working through NGOs in Soweto says, “As we know, lockdown has brought with it many challenges. Informal traders have been hit very hard, because without the ability to trade, they are unable to put food on their tables at home. We are, therefore, very grateful for this support for our people.”
A number of economically disadvantaged students from Wits University in Johannesburg were also beneficiaries of the food donation. Sthembiso Nhlapo, a student at Wits University who has been affected by the lockdown, says, “We are indeed very grateful for this assistance. During this time, people are scared of the virus and are addressing it in different ways. It is important that, in solidarity, people come together to address problems of food insecurity.”
Another student, Phakiso Masooa says, “I feel very happy today. A lot of families are suffering through this pandemic. This means a lot to me and my family, to be chosen to receive the food parcels.” Student Mbali Mofokeng says that receiving the food parcel means that she can remain focused on her online learning “which requires us to focus and to work hard”.
In the Northern Cape, another Chinese company, Longyuan Mulilo Wind Project, also did its bit to demonstrate #ChinaLovesSA by donating water tanks, portable toilets, personal protective clothing, and cash.
*Images courtesy of Anna Chen.