In a small cubicle in one of the hotels in Cape Town, South Africa, Paul Chimene is busily reading and taking notes in preparation for school the next day.
He does this at 11 p.m. every day before he retires from his post in the morning and heads for school.
School in the day, and then work at night, as a security man; this is the life of 29-year-old Zimbabwean immigrant resident in Cape Town.
Paul is an ex-military officer who served in the Zimbabwean Army for 4 years. His current life is influenced by the quest for a better life. It has never been easy or smooth for him.
A meagre salary and poor conditions of service compelled him to resign from the army in 2008.
He quit with the hope of landing a lucrative job offer, as a security man in Afghanistan, for a better pay than being a service person in Zimbabwe.
“I left the organisation that I loved so much; I was in the military police. I got a job in Afghanistan to be a security guard which was paying so much better,’’ Paul explained.
Afghan authorities refused him visa so the only option was to come to South Africa because at the time there was a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.
Paul Chimene Prince Appiah
His life had begun crushing because he had other siblings he had to take care of but at the time had no job.
The frustration informed his decision to seek refuge, better life and possible greener pastures in nearby South Africa.
The life he anticipated in what was an opportunity-abound South Africa was, however, a sharp of the reality on the ground.
With no contacts in such a new environment, Paul, with no job and accommodation, had to put up in the cold town of Johannesburg where the temperature could go as low as 17 degrees.
Coming from a country with temperatures as high as 30 degrees and above, one would understand how difficult it was.
“First time in Johannesburg was really tough, we were sleeping anywhere; veranda and in the streets. It [sleeping in the cold] was too dangerous because, at anytime, if someone suspects you they would attack you, that you get work and get paid, they want to rob you and take the money from you especially because you are …” he struggled to complete the sentence.
According to statistics from Institute of Security Studies, a non-profit organisation which aims to enhance human security; on average 363.1 robberies with aggravating circumstances were recorded each day in 2015/16 record year.