Youth league marches against xenophobia

Members and supporters of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) were the latest to take to the streets of Johannesburg in a show of opposition to the recent wave of violence against foreign nationals.

MARCHING AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: ANCYL members marched and sang songs along the streets of Johannesburg in solidarity against the recent xenophobic attacks, on April 24 2015. Photo: Tanisha Heiberg

MARCHING AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: ANCYL members marched along the streets of Johannesburg in solidarity against the recent xenophobic attacks, on April 24. Photo: Tanisha Heiberg

A group of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) members and supporters marched in the streets of Johannesburg against xenophobic attacks yesterday afternoon.

The march of around 100 people started on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge and made its way to the Yeoville Recreation Centre in Johannesburg.

A truck with loud speakers played songs of unity and led the supporters wearing ANC colours and waving flags and banners in solidarity against the recent attacks.

Boards bearing the hashtag #stopxenophobia, read “This is not what we fought for” and “An injury to one is an injury to all”.

“For us to realize the full potential of Africa we need to be united.”

The league’s provincial spokesperson Mbali Hlophe said the march comes from the rise of Afrophobic attacks that have taken place throughout the country and the need to unite all Africans.

ANCYL MARCH: Member's of the ANCYL marching to Yoeville Recreational Centre in support against xenophobia. Photo: Riante Naidoo

THE YOUTH  MARCH: Member’s of the ANCYL marching to Yoeville Recreational Centre in support against xenophobia. Photo: Riante Naidoo

“Whilst we acknowledge the societal ills that are taking place, we are saying to you redirect your energy because attacking each other isn’t going to work nor is it going to get you a job the next day,” Hlophe said.

Lehlohonolo Thatho, a learner at a Johannesburg school, said, “There are some learners from outside the country who don’t feel safe to go to school, so we have to say no to xenophobia.”

An energized crowd toyi-toyi’ed and sang anti-xenophobia songs as they made their way through the streets whilst attracting crowds of spectators from the buildings and shops along the route.

Wits student in xenophobic attack

A Wits student was attacked by four men in a taxi on Tuesday in what apears to be an incident of xenophobia.

“I know how xenophobic attacks feel. Yesternight, on my way home, I got into a taxi where I was assaulted, (spent the night in hospital), and robbed,” read the Facebook status of Elvis Munatswa last Wednesday.

Munatswa, a Wits PhD student, was physically attacked inside the taxi by four men including the driver. Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Munatswa says the attacks started after he asked the driver whether the taxi was going to Cresta, which is when driver realised Munatswa was not familiar with Johannesburg taxi routes. 

 “They said that I was a dog and that I deserve to die”

After discovering that Munatswa hailed from Zimbabwe, the men started making remarks in Zulu. “They said that I was a dog and that I  deserve to die,” Munatswa says.

As the three other occupants started to hit him, he realised the driver had changed his route and was no longer heading to Cresta. After driving around, the four men left him in Mayfair where he was helped by a tow truck driver. The attack left Munatswa with an injured thigh and some of his valuables including his cellphone, wallet, laptop and shoes taken from him. The tow truck driver gave him a lift to the hospital and after he was discharged, he laid a complaint at Hillbrow police station. Chairperson of the Zimbabwean Student Association, Tashinga Sakwiya says that students fear for their lives because of xenophobia. “It’s affecting our school work when we live in fear,” Sakwiya said.

In a statement on the xenophobic attacks around the country these past two weeks, Wits Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib said provisions would be made to ensure that students are not affected by the attacks. Habib states that there will be “…allowances for the absence, early departure, late arrival, or erratic attendance until the situation has stabilised”, for international students. He also urged students to exercise extreme caution at all times.

For any on-campus incidents, students should contact Campus Control on 011 717-4444.

Maritzburg locals save Congolese men from attack

Fictitious social media posts instilled fear of xenophobic attacks in Pietermaritzburg over the past week. This came after two Congolese men were subjected to an attack in Howick, outside KwaZulu-Natal’s capital on the weekend. The two men were saved by local taxi drivers who, according to reports, said “there’s no place for xenophobia in Howick”.

A fear of xenophobic attacks spread through parts of Pietermaritzburg this week because of social media reports which claimed two foreign nationals were “brutally” murdered along with a picture of a dead man. The reports though were incorrect.

Instead local residents were responsible for preventing an attack on two Congolese men as they shopped in Pietermaritzburg. On Saturday, Morisho Hamissi and Mukobwa Gilbert, were attacked by a man who wielded a spanner at a shop.

Photo: Mfundo Mkhize

RESCUED: From left: Morisho Hamissi, Moses Kilozo and Mukubwa Gilbert in Howick, outside Pietermaritzburg relieved to have been saved by locals after an attack on Saturday. Photo: Mfundo Mkhize

The men say they were rescued by local taxi drivers who told the attacker,“there is no place for xenophobia in Howick” according to local media reports.

“I was going to buy food at Chicken Palace when I heard people murmuring about foreigners,” Hamissi told reporters. “Then they started shouting at me. Suddenly a man came in wielding a spanner and started to attack me. ”

Hamissi reportedly said he was grateful for the locals support. When the attacker’s family learned of the incident, they allegedly rushed over to the foreign nationals’ house and apologised, according to local media reports.

In media reports, Moses Kilozo, another Congolese national, said this was not the first time foreigners were victimised and targeted.

He added that they have regularly been subjected to insults from locals.

*Sourced from Martizburg SunThe Witness and Public Eye.