Banian family arrived in Cape Town in March 2015 and they're among one of 40 Syrian families who have filed for refugee status (UNHCR reports) in South Africa. The family was helped by a local mosque to temporarily settle in Cape Town, while their three daughters continue their schooling and learn English with a thick south african accent. In July 2016, their request for refugee status was denied by the court, stating that Damascus was safe and the family need to return to Syria.
Between 2006 and 2012, South Africa received the highest number of asylum seekers than any other country in the world, with a peak of 222,300 claims in 2009. While South Africa has one of the most progressive system for settling refugees, after a series of xenophobic attacks on refugees that left 60 people dead and thousands displaced. Currently less than %1 of the applicants are granted refugee status
In August 2016, while Banian family lived in a limbo, waiting for their court appeal, I photographed their three daughters, Shahd (11), Rand (9) and Judi (7). Like any other child, the three girls invented games and dreams in their small house on the highest point of Bo-Kaap hill in Cape Town. Parallel to their fairytales, a dark world of loss, war and limbo continued to ravage through the lives of their parents and extended family back in Syria. (2016)