Durban peace march attracts support from all walks of life

2015-04-16 13:58
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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WATCH: Fewer people than anticipated at KZN peace march

2015-04-16 12:02

News24 reporter Jeff Wicks is on the ground at the KwaZulu-Natal anti-xenophobia peace march. Wicks gives us an overview of the situation. Watch. WATCH

Durban – A self-proclaimed “healer” and purveyor of muti, R200 notes pinned to his clothing, briefly distracted attention from a “peace march” against xenophobia in Durban on Thursday morning.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

Andile Dlamini, of Nongoma, whose nickname is Mzimb'okhalimali (a body dripping with money), arrived at Curries Fountain Stadium, where hundreds of people had gathered for a march to protest a week of violence and looting that spread from Durban to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg. Five people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed and scores injured.

Dlamini’s arrival was greeted with cheers and interrupted prayers by religious leaders for a safe march. One pastor asked the Curries Fountain crowd not to be distracted by people wearing money. Dlamini sells potions he claims can boost sex drive and cure anything from shingles to meningitis, He says the money is tips from his clients.

KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu welcomed the crowd and asked that it respect the religious leaders present before they began praying.

Marshalls escorted another man out after he joined a group in shouting "siphi isilo" (loosely translated as "Where is the king? Where is the king?"), possibly in reference to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. His comments about foreigners last month have been blamed for starting the violence.

"Foreigners must pack their bags and go home,” Zwelithini reportedly told a moral regeneration event in Pongola.  

He has insisted that he was merely speaking out against crime and destruction of property.

Vice Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said: "I think that it's important that Durban is holding this march, but I hope that it's not just a march, but the beginning of a long engagement that South Africa has to deal with.”

Singer Simphiwe Dana hung a board around her neck, with the words “#WeAreAfrica Phansi nge Xenophobia”.  

First Lady Tobeka Madiba Zuma, ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize and State Security Minister David Mahlobo were also in attendance.

Writer Khaya Dlanga said: "It’s absolutely great to see all these people that have come out on a work day to show support against xenophobia."

Shaka Sisulu said he was excited to be in Durban.  “I can feel the energy of the Durban people, who say that the violence is not representative of the South African people today."

Ryan Matthews, from Durban’s Glenridge Church, was there with his friend Goodenough Mpanza.

"My greatest concern is that we don't understand our common enemy,” Matthews said.

“It's not our colour, our nationalities. Our common enemy is what's in our hearts. Our common enemy is greed and pride and entitlement. We've come to show support because we believe in our nation and we completely support what Tata Mandela said when he said ‘we are one’."

Read more on:    durban ­  |  xenophobia

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