Nomzamo: A heartbreaking situation
People often tell me journalists become desensitised to people's pain. Yes, as reporters we are often exposed to heartbreaking situations, but try not to get involved in an effort to tell an objective story.
Cut to earlier this week when I was faced with arguably the most heart-wrenching story I've ever had to cover.
The forced eviction of hundreds of informal settlers in Nomzamo has made headlines this week. Being sent out on Tuesday morning, my assignment was to make the listener feel these people's plight.
The desperation on their faces as they hustled to save what they could in cold and wet conditions, will stay with me for years to come.
As I approached a crowd trying to block the street and entrance to the area from police who were en route, a woman could be heard telling her friend, "I am ready to fight for the little I have left".
Police soon arrived, suited up in riot gear, and warned the squatters they would be given a few minutes to gather what they could.
After these few words, one man walked up to the line of police officers and said, "I will die before you take my home". This triggered the first round of chaos which was set to take place that day.
Police started firing rubber bullets as people (many of them children) started scattering to safety. I ran with the protesters, my recorder still running.
I soon found myself huddled at the side of a house with a few protesters, watching police as they started shooting rubber bullets in our direction.
After a while the chaos subsided, with people realising it's inevitable that they would have start dismantling their homes.
The sound of plates being broken echoed through the air, accompanied by cries of women and children.
People carrying anything from two-plate stoves, microwaves, cupboards and even beds could be seen being moved to houses not listed for closure.
Many of the people I spoke to could hardly muster the words to express their feelings as some fought back the tears. A woman carrying a child on each hip caught my eye. I went up to speak to her and found she was carrying twins, no older than two.
Before I could ask her anything she asked me, "Where is my government?".
This was where I could no longer just be the journalist and realised, yes, my profession requires objectivity - but demands humility.
Carmel Loggenberg is an EWN reporter based in Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter: @carmell1805
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