In a bid to diffuse the growing tension between South Africa and other African nations, Mzansi’s celebs have come out to strongly condemn the xenophobic attacks by South Africans on foreign nationals
To describe the relationship between South Africans and African nationals as ‘tense’ right now would be an understatement. The tension has been fuelled by a number of factors in recent weeks, most notably: the police clampdown on counterfeit goods sold by undocumented foreigners in South Africa, the subsequent retaliation by illegal migrants, and most recently the looting and vandalism of stores owned by foreign nationals.
Of all the countries to be spotlighted, Nigerians seem to have gained the worst PR in the dominant headlines over the past few weeks. Undocumented Nigerians have long been the victim of a stereotype linking them to drug trafficking and other illegal trades, and recent clashes have allowed this type of xenophobic typecasting to continue.
On Monday, many parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria were gripped by violent protests, after disgruntled South Africans attacked and looted foreign-owned stores in the CBD of the cities. Realising that the tension between the nations had risen to boiling point, a number of celebrities tried their best to combat the xenophobic attacks across the country.
Dr Malinga and L-Tido were among the first to call for an end to xenophobia in South Africa:
Stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop xenophobia stop
— DRMALINGA (@drmalinga) September 3, 2019
I am saddened and ashamed by what’s been happening in our country ‼️from violence against women to xenophobia attacks against our own Africans brothers . We need to take action ASAP!!! This shit is out of control 🇿🇦💔
— #16 (@L_Tido) September 3, 2019
Meanwhile, Nadia Nakai shared a video of herself taken in Lagos, Nigeria
In the video, Nadia is seen visiting Ojuelegba, a popular neighbourhood in the city (yes, the same one Wizkid sang about) and she notes how warmly she is received by her African brothers and sisters.
I was in Ojuelegba just yesterday and never did I feel unsafe or not welcome… they knew I was South African! IT should never be okay to attack and hurt innocent people because A criminal came from their country! pic.twitter.com/QZOW7mEeSQ
— #NadiaNaked (@Nadia_nakai) September 3, 2019
Cassper Nyovest added his voice to the debate:
— R.M Phoolo (@casspernyovest) September 3, 2019
These recent xenophobic clashes have not gone unnoticed across the continent.
Nigerian celebrities have also taken a moment to speak out against what is going on in South Africa, including one of their most popular singers, Banky W:
The #Xenophobia attacks by some South Africans against Nigerians and other foreign Nationals are completely heartbreaking. Sad to see people that suffered through decades of apartheid, violence and hatred, now turning around to do the same/worse to others. (1)
— Banky Wellington (@BankyW) September 3, 2019
At the time of writing the violence in Johannesburg has continued to boil over, with reports claiming that Nigerian nationals are retaliating against protesters and vandals who looted foreign-owned stores.
The cries against xenophobia have been as audible as the protests against illegal trade in South Africa, but louder than both of these combined has been the deafening silence from those in power.
This will not end well. Looks like Nigerians are now retaliating in #JohannesburgCBD. If there is leadership in this country, they should stand up now & fix this!#Xenophobia #SAShutdown #shutdownsouthafrica pic.twitter.com/uXsZQvLZ4z
— Solomon Harudzibwi (@S_Harudzibwi) September 3, 2019