On Thursday, April 23, 2015, over 30,000 people are expected to march in Johannesburg in a spirit of unity to show the world that there is another South Africa than the one portrayed by recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
An emergency coalition has been formed calling for a “peoples’ march against xenophobia”, in Johannesburg this Thursday. The coalition includes organisations such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), African Diaspora Forum, Equal Education, SECTION27, Doctors without Borders, the University of Witwatersrand and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA).
The march will start at 1pm at Pieter Roos Park in Hillbrow, and end at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.
Speaking at the media briefing earlier today in Braamfontein, the vice chancellor of Wits, Professor Adam Habib, has confirmed the participation of the Wits community.
“Wits will participate fully,” he said. “We are trying to arrange a possible day off or acceptable absenteeism for those who want to attend the march.”
“On Thursday we should all stand as one,” Habib said.
Zwelinzima Vavi, the former general secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, identified the xenophobic violence as a “displacement of the working class”.
“This is a reaction of social and political order that has failed humankind,” said Vavi.
Vavi believes that the peoples march against xenophobia will unite workers, both South African workers and foreign nationals.
“The march is going to be a march that will unite workers to say do not take advantage of our vulnerability,” said Vavi.
For the SAHRC the march is to show the world that there is another South Africa than the one portrayed by recent events of xenophobia.
Pregs Govender, deputy chairperson of SAHRC, told the media that “South Africa is not represented by the barbaric actions.”
“We are represented by human rights,” she said.