Africa : Africans in Italy

Discussion in 'All Things Africa' started by Destee, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Destee

    Destee STAFF

    United States
    Jan 22, 2001
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    betwixt and between
    Africans in Italy

    life in a new land

    Italy's 'little Senegal'

    In the foothills of the Italian Alps, hidden among row after neat row of wooden-shuttered chalets is the Residence Prealpino, where overcrowded, chaotic Dakar has been recreated in suburban Europe.

    When they are not working, many immigrants prefer to hang around outside rather than remain cooped up in their rooms, which reek of multiple layers of body odour.

    Indeed, when I got into a car with a Senegalese driver, we were immediately stopped and asked for our papers - it seems racial mixing is still uncommon enough to warrant police intervention.

    "It's hard for us to rent flats. Even if we have the money, the Italians don't want us to," he said.

    Most of the migrants I spoke to had come to Italy with a single goal - to earn enough money to set themselves up in business back home and then return.

    The men take it in turns to clean the room and cook for each other
    "I haven't come here as a tourist, I've come to earn some money. As soon as I've done that, I'm going back home to live with my family," said Mody Kante, who shares a room with Billy.

    Inside, paint is peeling off the walls, plaster is falling off the ceilings and water leaks into the basement.

    In Billy and Mody's room, there is a double bed which is shared by three people. For chairs, they use six mattresses stacked in two piles. At night, these are pulled out to cover the floor, so all eight room-mates can sleep - or at least lie down.

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