The spirit of Nelson Mandela lives on in South Africa! 30,000 people are marching in Johannesburg to protest against recent attacks on foreigners, that have rendered 5,000 people homeless and 7 dead. Another protest against xenophobia is taking place in the city of Port Elizabeth.
The protest is non-violent; people are marching with signs encouraging the foreigners to stay, that promote an “Africa for all”. They are singing Senzenina, that translates into “What have we done?”, a song symbolic for the anti-apartheid activists’ funerals.
“We will defeat xenophobia like we defeated apartheid,” David Makhura, Gauteng province’s premier said to the people in Johannesburg, filled with the hope that South Africa will get passed this horrible situation.
Everything started three weeks ago, when foreign owned businesses were burnt and reduced to rubble. The true tragedy is that seven people were burnt alive in these events and some 5,000 lost their homes as a result of this outbreak of hatred.
What allegedly caused these dreadful incidents were the words of King Goodwill Zwelithini, the honorific king of the Zulus, a very controversial character in South Africa. It would not be the first time when his speeches cause violence.
Despite the fact that he suggested that foreigners were stealing South Africans’ jobs and that they should pack their bags and go home, the King is claiming that the media is twisting his words and that he is not to blame.
But it doesn’t seem that he will be getting away so easily this time. Ita Solomon Enang, a senator from Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to take action against King Goodwill. “The matter should be taken to African parliament. The Zulu King should be tried in the International Court of Justics (ICC),” believes the Nigerian senator.
Tensions are still high at the moment in South Africa, despite the peaceful nature of the protest, as the army has been deployed in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. But the people are determined to make a difference and stop this situation from going any further.
This gives hope to the immigrants in South Africa, mostly Africans and Asians. Some of them are decided to stay, despite these events, mostly because the situation in their home countries is even worse. And getting support from locals is a great comfort for them.
Some South Africans have not forgotten how other African countries were of great help to them during the apartheid, so they are determined to return the favor to these people who are in such need of their support. “This is for Mandela”; these are the words guiding militants to take a stand against xenophobia!
Image Source: znbc.co.zm