CHINEDU OKORO (Nigeria), ADANE BIKILA (Ethiopia), MARIA MACHARIA (Kenya) and AKANI CHAUKE (South Africa)
BUREAUS – AFRICAN nationals have proposed radical measures in reaction to the recurring xenophobic violence in South Africa.
In addition to calls to boycotting South African businesses operating in their respective countries, the African nationals proposed economic blockade against South Africa, include barring airspace to South African Airways (SAA) by all 55 African Union (AU) member states and deny passage in all sea waters as well as that governments refuse South African businesses permission to open in other African countries.
There are also calls for the immediate expulsion of South Africa’s ambassadors by fellow African nations.
Most African nationals hinted at retaliation.
The uproar follows the latest episode of violence against fellow African nationals living in South Africa by host communities. Xenophobia has reared its ugly head again, this time in the coastal city of Durban, KwaZulu Natal.
Nigerian youth leader, Kelechi Onuachu, lamented that this violence always preceded elections in South Africa. Polls are set for May.
“No elections in South Africa take place without spilling the blood of fellow Africans. Why is it that in our countries we don’t burn down South African businesses that have flooded our economies. We have never accused South Africans of robbing locals of their jobs,” Onuachu said in the capital Abuja.
Lagos based Ikechukwu Ifeanyi hinted at local youth reacting tit-for-tat.
“We will soon mobilise fellow youths to hit hard on all known South African companies operating in our country,” the Nigerian said.
Nigerians have previously been targeted in anti-migrant violence in South Africa, where they are accused of peddling drugs and fraud.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ejegayehu Woldegiorg, also advocated for retaliation.
He alleged Ethiopian businesses in South Africa were being looted and people killed as authorities turned a blind eye.
“We will mobilise other youths in East Africa to target South African companies or enterprises until this xenophobic demon in South Africa has been exorcised,” Woldegiorg told CAJ News Africa.
Kipyegon-Justice Obiri of Kenya urged the Kenyan government to call South Africa to order.
“This madness must stop or else we take law into our own hands,” Obiri threatened.
Mzee Faridi Maganga of Tanzania said: “We wish our liberation icon Mwalimu Julius Nyerere had not supported South Africa’s liberation movement African National Congress (ANC), otherwise these people are self-hating.”
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Franco Ongala said fellow African nations must “retaliate economically” to the xenophobia.
“All industries in South Africa, who manufacture goods being sold to other SADC countries worth billions of dollars must be stopped. South African industries thrive because of finished products sold to other SADC countries, that must end,” Ongala said.
Closer to South Africa, citizens from Mozambique and Zimbabwe also expressed outrage.
“Why is it that in our countries, we don’t target South African businesses that have taken all sectors of our economy,” Mozambican entrepreneur, Eduardo Antonio, said in Maputo.
Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda, chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), who is also Zimbabwean said, “We call upon all leaders to lead in blaming and condemning these acts of xenophobia and pledge to be on the fore-fronting in fighting the crime of xenophobia.”
Former chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, now South African Planning and Evaluation Minister, expressed disappointment at her fellow South Africans attacking foreign nationals.
“These attacks go against everything we stand for as a nation. We reject all kinds of xenophobia. We strongly condemn violent attacks against fellow Africans,” she said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa stated, “As South Africans, we owe our freedom to the solidarity and support given to our liberation struggle by people across our continent and around the world.”
In 2008, more than 60 foreign nations were killed during the worst xenophobic attacks with more than 300 000 displaced.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has been on the forefront condemning xenophobia arguing the white monopoly capitalists were not investing in the country.
Malema questioned why South Africans were only targeting blacks without doing the same to whites, Chinese or Indians.
– CAJ News