As South Africa calms from the country's worst period of violence in decades, expatriates Debbie and Gary Gallagher have been watching the crisis unfold from Port Macquarie.
Shopping centres were torched, hundreds of businesses looted, more than 2500 people arrested and 200 people killed during the politically-motivated violence from July 8 to July 20.
Riots erupted in the streets after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed for refusing to comply with a corruption inquiry investigating his presidency from 2009 to 2018.
More than 25,000 soldiers were deployed to two provinces hit by the violence.
"I have a friend who lives in Westridge (in the KwaZulu-Natal region), during the riots she said she was petrified," Mrs Gallagher said.
"People were arming themselves to protect themselves from rioters coming into their homes.
"I think the arrest of Zuma is being used as an excuse to create mayhem. People want to destablise the government and loot businesses.
"Unfortunately when there's an opportunity to loot and steal, you can bet the criminality in any society will seize it.
"We are so desensitised to the violence there because it was part of daily life. There are very few people we know who haven't had something happen to them directly, it's very sad.
"My husband has been hijacked twice while working there, his uncle has been hijacked and my 90 year-old father has been attacked in his own house when someone jumped the balcony and put a gun to his head.
"As South Africans we have had to live through so much but we are very resilient. We (the country) will clean up, rebuild and carry on."
The country has also had more than 2.3 million people infected with COVID and 67,080 deaths as of July 21, according to the World Health Organisation.
The worsening COVID pandemic has exacerbated problems back home, Mrs Gallagher said.
"COVID is obviously rampant there at the moment and pretty much all my family there has had it," she said.
"Everybody has had it and some people are starting to take the jab, but even if people are vaccinated they can still get it.
"My father, John he hasn't had COVID and he's going to get the jab this week. He believes in a few bananas and a whisky a day to keep healthy."
Mrs Gallagher kindled a romance with her future husband when he was working as a metallurgist in the mining town of Kalgoorlie and she was on holiday in 2012. The pair had previously met in 2005.
"I came over on holiday that December and we met in Western Australia. I went back to South Africa to sell my car, I gave my business to a friend and packed my life up into two bags," she said.
"We got married and lived in Kalgoorlie from 2013 to 2017. Then we went travelling for six months and settled in Port Macquarie in 2018.
"I sold my beautiful four-bedroom house (in South Africa) and it was a deposit for our house in Port Macquarie. So you go backwards to go forwards, but we wouldn't do it again any other way.
"There are a lot of people who want to leave South Africa, but then there are a lot of patriotic people who want to stay.
"It does form a lot of conflict in families because there is this negative stigma that people think 'heh, you're a runner'.
"When I lived there I was one of the most patriotic South Africans but now that I'm living here, I could never go back."
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