Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

On behalf of all those – South Africans in particular – who have been horrified and dismayed by the recent attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa,  we wish to express in no uncertain terms our utter condemnation of these despicable acts of violence and intolerance.

It is difficult to find words to describe exactly how we feel about this phobic onslaught on non South African citizens of largely African background. However, some terms of relevance do come to mind: Remorse, Lament, Rejection and Anger!

Our remorse is deep. We lament the killings, and to the families and friends of the victims, we offer our heartfelt condolences.

We totally reject these perpetrations and urge all South Africans to take firm action against such manifestations which clearly threaten the integrity of South Africa and its people. We are extremely angry and the basis of that anger is twofold really. First, it is simply unacceptable that the authorities have not been able to put measures in place to avoid such recurrence. After all, the country faced the same problems in 2008 and again as recently as January 2015. Second, the targeting of foreign nationals – irrespective of their place of origin – is totally inhuman and just cannot be tolerated. Moreover, targeting African foreign nationals in particular is unfathomable especially when seen in the context of how their governments helped us during the apartheid era. Many African states took great risks and made enormous sacrifices in providing shelter and protection for our political exiles during the Struggle. This should not be forgotten!

That government has now taken action in an effort to stem these atrocities, is to be applauded and encouraged. However, it is high time that government and civil society institutions work in close harmony to find both short and long term solutions to this ongoing problem. Also, cooperation between those countries, whose nationals have come under attack, and South Africa is crucial for a better understanding of the crisis.

It is fair to say that South Africa’s reputation as a young but vibrant democracy has been tarnished by this ghastly incident. This is regrettable and the people and its government should do everything in their power to redress these wrongs.

Mayibuye Südafrika Community e.V.

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