As many of you are aware, a small number of South Africans have decided to violently attack and harm some of the foreign nationals who have made our country their home too. I say a small number because the vast majority of us have condemned these attacks in the strongest of terms and have distanced ourselves from such malicious and quite frankly criminal activities. I’m not naive and I understand why citizens of our country are fed up, but there must be another way to voice your concerns and anger? March to the Union Buildings, share your opinions, your stories, your pain with the President, but for crying out loud don’t burn a fellow human being for also wanting to make a life for him/herself. It’s despicable, inhumane and it breaks my heart.
I’m not one to hate on my country. In fact I am a person who tries to shut the haters up, but damn it’s hard when there are issues like xenophobia, crime, the power crisis all happening simultaneously. Our president is supposedly going to make an address later today… Great, more words. How is that going to help? Honestly? He isn’t liked by many and this is certainly something where he could change that view. In doing so, he could help change the perceptions of how South Africans currently ‘welcome’, ’embrace’ and live with those who choose to make this place their home too.
I heard on the news earlier that artists like Kelly Khumalo and Cassper Nyovest have had their international gigs placed on ice or cancelled outright because of what is currently happening. I say good. The world must turn their backs on us until such behaviour is removed from our society. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but maybe tough love and the withdrawal of foreign investment in this country is the wake up call our government and we as a nation need in order to move forward. Those are my feelings right now! I pray for and keep my fellow human beings from this beautiful continent of mine in my thoughts. I hope you will be safe and I will do all I can to help make this as much a home for you, as it is for me.
I received a press release from the Arts and Culture Department, in which the minister himself has condemned the attacks:
The Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa has condemned the violent attacks on foreign nationals that are taking place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Mthethwa has called on all citizens of this country to be active citizens that will work together to fight all forms of prejudice and stereotypes.
In a significant development, Mthethwa said the Department of Arts and Culture will host a special month-long cultural program to use arts, culture and heritage to build unity in communities and forge closer relations among all people who live in this country.
The Africa Month cultural celebrations have the theme We are Africa – Opening the doors of culture from Cape to Cairo will take place from 1 May 2015.
Over 31 countries will send artists from various genres to participate at the inaugural festival.
“We are saddened by the violence that seems to target almost exclusively non-South Africans in our country.
“As a Department that leads and promotes nation building and social cohesion, we discourage any form of violence and hate speech that violates the human rights of people who are part of our society, irrespective of their background, race or place of origin.
“We appeal to all people to seek peaceful means to resolutions of their challenges. We believe that arts and culture can contribute to national discourse and help us appreciate that what binds us is far more important than what divides us.
“The unrest that has erupted in KwaZulu-Natal in the past few days is a serious blight on our efforts to build a society that is at peace with itself,” said Mthethwa.