We are witnessing xenophobia and Afrophobia in our communities. Xenophobia is a worldwide tendency to blame foreigners and people who are different, instead of confronting the real sources of injustice and impoverishment. What some have termed Afrophobia is a phenomenon whereby vulnerable black and brown migrants from Africa and Asia face resentment and hostility that white tourists and immigrants have never encountered in South Africa.
It is clear to us that these attacks have their roots in the legacy of colonialism, which divided Africa and established borders and systems of exploitation that suited European interests. The attacks have their roots in the continued capitalist exploitation of our people and resources, and the poverty, inequality and unemployment that it creates. Too little has been done by our democratic government to arrest this process. The attacks, which we reject as unjustified and counterproductive, nevertheless reflect the systemic violence that the majority of black South Africans are subjected to daily.
Victims have been from Mozambique, Malawi, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere. All of these people are driven across borders by an international system that continues to impoverish the majority of people in Africa and the global South whilst enriching the global elite. We know that our societies will remain violent societies until we can come together to fight for an equal world.
We condemn every instance of violence against foreigners. Nothing can justify such cruelty to fellow human beings. We call on everyone in South Africa to extend hospitality and protection to our brother and sisters against attacks and intimidation.
Unity amongst poor and working people is a vital weapon in the struggle against inequality, the unequal distribution of economic and political power, and those who are unjustifiably enriched in the process.
We call on government in all provinces to respond in a manner that reflects the urgency of the current situation. The failures of the government response during the 2008 violence cannot be repeated. We need clear and progressive leadership from political, religious and traditional leaders. Anything less will result in more death and displacement; we can and will not accept that.
Members of our organisations will be undertaking work in our communities to build solidarity with foreign nationals and pressure on government. This work will build up to two marches in Johannesburg and Cape Town. We invite the media and all those who wish to show solidarity to join us.
The march details are as follows:
– When? Thursday, 23rd April, 13h00.
– Where? Peter Roos Park, Empire Rd.
– When? Monday 27th April, 11h00.
– Where? Town Two Khayelitsha, corner Spine Rd and Jeff Masemola.
For more information contact:
Nishal Robb (Equal Education)
079 511 6790
Phumeza Mlungwana (Social Justice Coalition)
074 417 8306
Zackie Achmat ( Ndifuna Ukwazi)
083 467 1152