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Monday, June 17, 2019

The Midnight train is changing mindsets

JOHANNESBURG: Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique on the 14th of March 2019, leaving behind a devastating humanitarian crisis.

Mozambican authorities report that the death toll went over 600 people and over 100 000 homes were destroyed by the cyclone. The events of cyclone Idai have been described as the worst natural disaster to ever hit the African continent. 


Scores of people were displaced and left stranded without food, shelter and other basic needs.

The news of the disaster took the world by storm and received worldwide coverage. Good Samaritans came from far and wide to try and provide aid to those affected.  One the organizations that were formed to assist in Mozambique was the Midnight train Beira convoy.


The Midnight Train
to Beira was formed by South African story telling group, Hadithi ya Africa, who were touched by the news of the catastrophe left behind by Idai. The Midnight Train aimed to collect and deliver aid to the hard hit Beira.


Their initial target was to offer relief to 100 families and have so far surpassed it due to the over whelming support from Africans in the diaspora.

Speaking to GoXtra News, one of the founders of the organization, Lazola Bhele, said that the formation of the project was more about Africans helping other Africans. He further added they wanted to change the mindset that implied that we have to always wait for a particular group to come to our rescue.


The process of collecting aid is broken down into 3 stages, the first step being collecting and packaging the care packs, the second stage is getting the aid to Mozambique and finally distributing it to those affected. These items include food, utensils, clothing and other
essentials. 


The care packs were contributed by the general public who were touched by the cause of the organization and packaged at a packing party hosted by the organization. The Midnight train to Beira convoy has collected and distributed an estimated 30 tons in aid. 

The Midnight Train team made two trips to Mozambique by road and personally donated the aid to the people.

“We worked with local churches and local civilians to identify the most affected areas and since they knew the area well, it made our work much easier”, Bhele explained. 


He added that they found it very challenging to work on the project while holding full time jobs.

Travelling Africa


The midnight train to Beira has since changed its name to just Midnight train. The founders of the organization explained that this is because they now take the project anywhere it is needed. The project recently provided aid to the flood hit KwaZulu-Natal.


Bhele also stated that they intend on changing people’s mindsets about Africa. One of the ways they are doing this by travelling around the African continent. Lazola further said that they wanted to eradicate the notion that travelling is expensive.

40 Days and Forty nights


According to reports from the United Nations, 90% of Beira was washed away. Many of the structures and homes were destroyed. Like any other storm, Mozambicans have to start rebuilding and the Midnight train was willing help. 


Under the leadership of Anteparo Moz architects and lead designer Antonio Jamisse, The midnight train currently has a troupe of 5 who are helping to rebuild a school in, Nhenhemba Manica province with hundreds of community members. 

One of the lead organisers, Karabo Joel Elliott, said that the forty days and forty nights projects is a voluntary cultural and professional exchange Southern Africa in solidarity with Mozambique, natural building, regenerative design, collecting ideas, skills and restoring dignity whilst planting the seed of storytelling and musical ecology transcending borders.

Elliott further reiterated that they are still in need of financial funding and support from corporate so that they can be able to supply their volunteers with basic needs and send a 2nd  troupe which is supposed to leave for Mozambique on the 5th of July.


The building of the community residence is projected to be completed by the 19th of July, followed by two storytelling concerts in Mozambique.


For further details, people can visit the Hathidiya Africa website.


Anyone who wants to donate can do so on the following details:
FNB: 62791647103
Ref: 40dYOURNAME


Story by Mfenelo Dlamini email: mfanelo@goxtranews.com

Tweet us @GoXtraNews or simply send an email to our Managing Editor Buchule Raba editor@goxtranews.com for any coverage related issues or event invites. You can also Tweet @BuchuleB

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