Condemning xenophobia with all my heart

2015-04-30 16:47

MAYBE all of us saw and witnessed ugly scenes of xenophobia in many ways last week. Some areas around the city like downtown Copesville, Swapo, Ezinketheni in some parts of Masukwana were badly hit and our foreign brothers were brutally attacked.

I am totally against it in many ways. Maybe I am heartbroken because the majority of the people who enjoyed the attacks were criminal elements and just wanted to loot and fulfil their acts of crime. Talking from personal experience and as person who has been fortunate to travel out of our borders many times, I have come to the realisation that some of us South Africans are short-sighted or misinformed about foreign nationals in our country.First of all we need to understand that South Africa is on the African continent and Africa belongs to all of us.

I remember my first experience when I travelled to Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana for national sport events, and for political reasons. Our foreign counterparts are always good, positive and welcoming to all South Africans and spoke volumes about us as their neighbours.

Also any South African who visited, toured or went into exile during the apartheid years was well looked after. Our national teams such as Banyana Banyana (SA senior Women’s team), AmaGlugGlug (SA U23 men’s team), Bafana Bafana (SA senior men’s team) and even PSL sides like Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns, will tell you that 25 years ago to travel to Africa was interesting and the treatment was always good, except of course the mind game before matches. Some of the local associations like the Pietermaritzburg and District Soccer Association (Padsa) visited Lesotho and were accepted with warm hands. All of us face challenges to mend or change the good South African image or local image that has been dented by few a criminal elements. I take my hat off to the way our local SAPS, our municipalities, politicians and religious leaders responded to these xenophobic incidents around the city. The fact is that if Pietermaritzburg, the KZN capital, and Durban fail to control or totally eliminate these attacks, it will mean we are unable to look after our economy and peace.

The majority of foreigners around our the city are hard-working businesspeople. They brought economy to us and created jobs for some of us. Others came to South Africa, or to our city, to take their sporting talents to another level, others came to work here.

Let’s remember that most of our professional clubs around KZN - Maritzburg United, AmaZulu, Golden Arrows, Thanda Royal Zulu and even the majority of tertiary institutes, hospitals and high schools - recruited a lot of our foreign brothers or sisters in order to improve lives or to work in South Africa.

I encourage local businesses, churches, municipalities, councillors and even us as individuals to stop xenophobia and embrace our African brothers. Let us all live in peace and harmony

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