What a noble way to fight xenophobia

The recent xenophobic attacks painted SA in a bad light and created widespread tension, the writer says.
The recent xenophobic attacks painted SA in a bad light and created widespread tension, the writer says.
Image: 123RF/ lkeskinen

The recent xenophobic attacks that hit parts of Gauteng seem to be over and we are back to our normal lives.

As much as we are relieved that the madness is over, we are also encouraged that efforts are being made to curb any recurrence.

What we witnessed was unfortunate as South Africans and fellow Africans ran amok, attacking each other, with shops owned by foreign nationals looted and burnt. Twelve people were also killed and scores injured.

The attacks painted SA in a bad light and created widespread tension.

The rest of Africa was understandably angry at us - and the government was forced to reassure the continent that we are committed to the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised for the attacks when he took to the podium at former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's memorial service. He also sent special envoys across the continent to try to mend relations.

We want to thank the government for the efforts made to reassure our fellow Africans of SA's commitment to Africa's unity.

We also commend the initiative taken by South Africans and Nigerians living in this country to put aside differences in pursuit of improved and brotherly coexistence.

The initiative under the Nig-SA Unity Forum was unveiled in Johannesburg yesterday with nationals on boith sides apologising to each other for the wrongs they have done to each other.

What a noble gesture.

The forum comprises pastors, academics and the business community. Civil society plans to run dialogues in townships to help South Africans get a better understanding of the Nigerian community and vice versa.

This is a very important initiative and the forum should try to include more people from other countries. They should work in tandem towards a common goal. This should include sport administrators as sport is seen as unifier.

As Bafana Bafana prepare to face Mali next month in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, we urge the organisers, players and officials to use the occasion to spread the message of unity.

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