Who in their right mind would leave their entire life behind - your whole family, all your friends, good jobs, a life you've grown up with?

We did: My parents, sister and myself.

My childhood involved a lot of moving, from a few towns in South Africa to a few in Botswana. I was African.

After I turned 11, it was time for our new adventure: New Zealand. Now, an immigrant.


I knew it was largely for safety. A better life; but it's difficult to understand at that age.

A few years later we became citizens. And while the memory of the ceremony itself has faded, being able to say "I'm a Kiwi" is something you can't convey to someone who knows no different.

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Botswana was safe, but I remember noticing New Zealand's lack of high-rise electric fences and burglar bars on every window. It was odd to not have to lock your car to go to the supermarket, or that my sister and I could bike to school.

It was only when I moved here that I began to understand murders every day was not normal.

But soon, being safe was the new norm.

It wasn't until we visited family in 2015 that all the "horror" stories my parents had mentioned became real.

I was now aware of what was going on and could feel the fear that drew my parents to New Zealand.


It's not something you can convey - a fear you might be hurt or killed. I never properly understood it until that trip.

We touched back down in Christchurch, which was where my new life was when moving there to study, and I felt like I could breathe again.

I was back home and I was safe.

The Christchurch massacre killed 50 people in a city I called home and left me shattered. My sense of security wavered. Like the thousands who leave behind their lives to come to a peaceful country.

If I felt like this, I wondered how the Muslim community would feel?

We are immigrants but this is our home, we came here for a better life and opportunity. For safety.