Soccer games to help end hatred

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The KwaZulu-Natal government is organising friendly soccer games to counter the recent incidents of xenophobia.

The executive council, senior officials, foreign nationals and other stakeholders will gather at the University of KwaZuluNatal, Westville campus, today to launch the "Love of Africa Campaign".

The event will be a festival of culture and sport to celebrate Africa's diversity.

Countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Mozambique will participate in the cultural festival led by youth representatives.

Premier S'bu Ndebele said a soccer match could send a message of unity.

He said two teams, each with a mix of various African nationals, would play against each other.

"Local football clubs have also been involved. KwaZulu-Natal promotes ubuntu, and is a caring province with diverse cultures," Ndebele said.

"Let us join hands and celebrate our diversity. Let us condemn the senseless attacks and reconnect as Africans.

"Let us re-dedicate ourselves towards building and healing our continent," he added.

Ndebele said the recent spate of attacks on "our African brothers and sisters is a threat to our democratic gains as a nation".

He said the province had adopted an approach with strong law enforcement while encouraging and facilitating conflict resolution through dialogue between locals and foreigners.

"The recent attacks on foreigners, expressed through acts of violence and inhumanity, are a threat to our achievements as a nation," Ndebele said.

Consulates, religious leaders, NGOs and foreign businesses based in KwaZulu-Natal will attend the event.