Manuel's killers have left us broken - Sithole family

2015-04-29 18:31
(Mpho Raborife, News24 )

(Mpho Raborife, News24 )

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Johannesburg - The people who killed Mozambican national Manuel Jossias, initially identified as Emmanuel Sithole, in Alexandra two weeks ago left his family broken, his sister said on Wednesday.

"You are thieves because you took his life, you are robbers because you left us broken. You are evil," his sister Veronica Sithole told those at his memorial in East Bank, Alexandra.

He was stabbed to death on April 18 in the township. What was initially described as a xenophobic attack by locals was later described by officials as a criminal act.

Four men have been arrested for his murder.

"Our brother, the breadwinner, knew how much we needed him. He knew he had to wake up in the morning," she said.

"Did you hear him pleading for mercy?"

She said the men should have approached her brother and asked him how he managed to make a living.

"You should have asked him how he makes money and he would have taught you how to make a profit."

She called for an end to xenophobia. 

Former first lady Graca Machel, who is also Mozambican, was at the memorial.

She said citizens of the southern African region needed to be more united as a people.

Borders, which had been imposed on Africans during times of oppression, should not get in the way of migration opportunities for any citizen, regardless of the country one was born in, she said. 

"I am one of the most visible faces of a foreigner in South Africa.

"Today I want to make it clear and loud, I am a South African, I am a Mozambican, I am a Zambian, I am Swazi, I am Sotho, I am Tswana," she said to an applause.

"I belong to any one of the nations, most especially in southern Africa."

She said she had come to comfort the family as a mother and as a widow, herself.

"My words of support to the children, who will grow up without the love, care and guidance of their father.

"I personally know what it means to lose a husband in a violent situation, at the hands of others.

"I know what it takes to raise children when you become a mother and a father at the same time."

‘Deep pain’

She turned her attention to the wave of xenophobic attacks that have taken place in parts of South African in recent weeks, saying locals were harbouring "a deep pain" from the past.

"We are in a deep pain. We have nurtured anger, we have nurtured pain. The way we express ourselves in a violent way shows we hate ourselves."

Machel said after attaining freedom, South Africans did not take the time to look at what they had gone through as human beings during the apartheid era.

"This anger of South Africans expresses itself as if it is against foreigners. Tomorrow it won't be about foreigners, but South Africans themselves.

"The soul of the nation needs a deep search of what we have to do."

She said it was easy to point a finger at South Africa as being xenophobic, but other countries in the region needed to acknowledge their role in why millions were choosing to leave their home countries.

"There are big reasons why millions of them are here in South Africa. We have to look at our pain in Zimbabwe, in Mozambique, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho...

"These attacks against one another mostly have economic reasons. We need to acknowledge [that]."

She urged business leaders to make it easier for citizens in the Southern African Development Community to pursue business opportunities.

"We hang onto these borders and visions which are not ours, which were imposed on us. Let's wake up."

She sent condolences to the grieving Sithole family.

"To Emmanuel Sithole, who is in essence Manuel Jossias, go home, go home and rest. Despite the tragic condition in which you lost your life, your life was not wasted," Machel said. 

Read more on:    graca machel  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  xenophobia

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