An estimated 10 000 people participated in a peace march in Durban today to protest against xenopobic attacks that have claimed at least six lives over the past fortnight and left scores injured, foreigners’ shops looted and some 2 000 displaced foreigners sheltering in temporary camps around Durban.
The wave of xenophobia — the worst since 2008 when about 60 people were killed in attacks centered around Johannesburg — begain in townships around Durban and spread to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.
#XeNOphobiamustfall — a Biblical responseIn this special report Dr Serge Solomons considers the xenophobia crisis in our nation from a Biblical perspective and proposes a Christian response.
Read more…STOP PRESS: CALL FOR PRAYER ON XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
In a press release sent to us jst after we sent out our Friday Newsletter, the SA Prayer Movement for Change issued a call for prayer on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
During today’s march from Curries Fountain to the Durban City Hall Gospel songs and struggle songs were sung by the crowd who came from all walks of the community to send out a message that most South Africans reject xenophobia. A group of people wielding sticks and pangas tried to disrupt the peaceful protest but were held back by police who fired rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.
Among those leading the march were First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma‚ KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speaker Lydia Johnston and Premier Senzo Mchunu.
Church leader Bishop Rubin Phillip addressed the crowd saying “this xGaenophobia is like Goliath. We must fight xenophobia”.
Opposition leaders and various church leaders have condemned the xenophobia and speaking in Parliament today, President Jacob Zuma called the attacks against foreigners “shocking” and “unacceptable”.
In a statement in Parliament today, ACDP leader, Dr Kenneth Meshoe said the party “is deeply embarrassed and ashamed of what has been done to foreign nationals in our country”.
Meshoe called on Parliament to start setting a better example to the nation of respect and tolerance. He also urged church leaders to be more proactive in fulfilling their role in society as ministers of reconciliation and encouraged all churches to join together in praying for peace in SA.
Warning against “the spectre of revenge attacks” from African migrants living in South Africa, Anglican Archbishop Of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba called for restraint from all sides and sent condolences to the families of those who have died.
“Foreigners are God’s people too and deserve the dignity and protection we enjoy. This is not ubuntu, it is painful and deeply regrettable,” he said.
South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants. High unemployment and widespread poverty create fertile conditions for outbreaks of anti-immigrant violence and opportunistic criminal looting.
— Report based on media releases and various news reports.