Opinion

No justification for xenophobic attacks - Obama Africa Leaders

No justification for xenophobic attacks - Obama Africa Leaders

The Obama Africa Leaders in Southern Africa condemn in the strongest terms and unequivocally the recent acts of violence targeted at fellow Africans and their properties in South Africa.

We are outraged to once again witness these attacks on our fellow Africans. These incidents that have marred South Africa’s reputation of peace and reconciliation are criminal and have all the hallmarks of xenophobia. The ‘Afrophobia’ demonstrated recently in Gauteng, and across our country attacks black and brown bodies, many of whom are from South Asia or other African countries. 

There is no justification for these criminal and vile acts and those responsible should be apprehended with immediate effect by the law enforcement agencies.

We believe that these actions are by a minority of South Africans and do not reflect the sentiments of the majority of South African citizens. It is for this reason that we as Obama Africa Leaders add our voice to that of many others who are standing up against this xenophobic and Afrophobic conduct and violence. We condemn these acts with contempt.

South Africa’s history and relationship with other countries on the continent is inextricably linked to the struggle for liberation and freedom, and we remind all South Africans of the important role that our fellow brothers and sisters played in ensuring that South Africa would be free. We should stand together. We should denounce the vitriolic words, conduct and speech wherever we may find it. We must struggle and work together to ensure everyone regardless of their birthplace feel safe in South Africa.

As Obama Africa Leaders, we are committed to building a unified African continent that is prosperous, tolerant and connected.

It is for this reason that we wish to assure our fellow Africans that we as young leaders in Southern Africa, and particularly in South Africa, shall stand against this criminal and vile conduct and will defend the right of all Africans to life and property.

The socio-economic challenges in South Africa which has led to growing unemployment and inequality cannot justify the current actions. For Africa to grow and take its rightful place amongst the nations of the world it requires unity and leadership. Divisions and hostilities within Africa can only derail the prospects of a prosperous African continent.

We call on all peace-loving South Africans to take a stand to condemn these acts. As young leaders, we call for a thorough conversation about social cohesion amongst the various nationalities living within South Africa. It is important to unite all residents and citizens in South Africa, regardless of their nationality, who have come to this beautiful nation for economic and political refuge.

It is important for us to emphasize the benefits of immigration, the mobility of skills and people within the continent as an instrument of growth. Even though it is a minority of South Africans who are involved in these acts it is important for us as a nation to renew our commitment to human rights for all people, which is enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution.

The Obama Africa Leaders in Southern Africa call for justice for all fellow Africans whose properties have been destroyed during this time. We commit ourselves to be part of those in Southern Africa who will educate our people about the importance of an integrated continent and united people. We call on the South African Government to act without fear, favour or prejudice with a great sense of urgency and call out those leading public figures who have
peddled in xenophobic sentiments.

We will call on accountability and responsiveness on all leaders to honour the sacrifice and commitment of all Africans to building a better South Africa, and Africa!

We have launched an anti-afro-xenophobia campaign called #WeAreOneAfrica #UbuntuAfrica and we’ll be educating people about Pan-Africanism, how our countries were able to defeat colonialism by working together and why it's important for us to carry on that tradition of African Ubuntu.

We will also be sharing stories of how we as Obama Africa Leaders are working together across borderlines to make our continent a better place for all. Most importantly, we're using our national footprint to collect food and clothing to help our displaced and victimized fellow Africans
to get back on their feet.

For further enquiries about the campaign please contact spokespersons: Wandile Mthiyane: (Durban/ +27834525721 / [email protected]), Xabiso Dubasi (Port Elizabeth /+27658101276 / [email protected]), Ludwekazi Ndlazi: (Johannesburg /+27791270581 / [email protected]), Tumelo Makobye: (Gaborone /+26774434649 / [email protected]), Kumbirai L Kahiya: (Harare /+263715064521 / [email protected]), Kitso Phiri Gaborone: (Gaborone /+26772877854 / [email protected]l.com), Moitshepi Mastsheng: (Gaborone /+26772543819 / [email protected]), O’Brien Makore: (Harare /+263776388809 / [email protected]), Cathy Sibanda: (Gaborone,+26777006923/ [email protected])

Obama Africa Leaders signatories
Wandile Mthiyane (Ubuntu Design Group), Xabiso Dubasi, Ludwekazi Ndlazi, Kumbirai L, Kahiya, Xolo Kitso Phiri (Botswana Labour Migrants Association), Moitshepi Mastsheng, O’Brien Makore, Siyabulela Jentile, Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, Lesley Donna Williams, Tumelo Makobye, Lucinda van den Heever, Thandeka Xaba (Tariro Foundation), Amanda Blankfield-Koseff (Empowervate Trust), Shakira Choonara (African Union Youth Advisory Council), Shamiso
Kumbirai (Global Shapers Tshwane), Melene Rossouw (Pan African Chamber of Commerce & Founder of Women Lead Movement), Sharon Rapetswa (Triple Shine Foundation), Lusanda Magwape (Dream Factory Foundation), Taryn Lock (Read to Rise), Rufaro Mudimu (enke: Make Your Mark), Mandla Lionel Isaacs, Thulile Khanyile (Nka’Thuto EduPropeller), Sithe Ncube, Refilwe Ledwaba (GFPA Foundation ), Kudzai Kutukwa (Mobbisurance), Daylene van Burren (City Year South Africa)