Refugees risking lives to reach bright lights of Johannesburg

The vast majority of 17 milllion displaced Africans remain in the continent and face same difficulties as those trying to escape it

When dawn came Mohammed could see both the shore and the dirt road that led away into the forest. The fishing boat, which had dropped him on a deserted stretch of coast in northern Tanzania, had long since disappeared. Now, as the sun came up, the 28-year-old teacher hoped the next stage of his journey would begin.

The day passed. Mohammed and the 12 other Somali men who had joined him on the boat sought shade under the thorny scrub. They had little water but shared a packet of biscuits bought in Kenya before their departure. By late afternoon it was clear they was not going anywhere. Night came again, bringing the roar and howl of wild animals.

We felt very lonely, Mohammed remembered.

Another day crawled by, and another night. Then, finally, the men heard shouting. Their guide had come. Their journey could continue.

Though they may have felt alone, the small group were part of something much bigger. The African refugees heading to Europe have received massive media coverage in recent months, but a far larger number seek security and prosperity elsewhere on their own continent.

Immigration to the European countries is a huge thing in the media but in the rest of African there is a lot of movement too, said Marc Gbaffou, of the African Diaspora Forum, a Johannesburg-based NGO.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/16/refugees-risking-lives-to-reach-bright-lights-of-johannesburg

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