African bigwigs boycott South Africa over xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans

Xenophobia  Attacks
An angry mob attacks shops of other African nationals in South Africa.

Some prominent African leaders have boycotted South Africa following the recent spate of xenophobic attacks on other African nationals.

The attacks, which began early this week, have generated criticism at the South African government for its lack of will in curbing the menace.

After days of looting and violence, five people have been killed and dozens injured.

According to Al Jazeera, about 189 people have so far been arrested in South Africa’s biggest city, Johannesburg, after rioters looted shops and torched buildings and vehicles.

These attacks on other African nationals, particularly Nigerians, follow the bloody xenophobic attacks in 2017.

Following the instability in South Africa, the presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malawi have decided not to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa which is to be hosted by South Africa.

The Zambian national football team has boycotted a friendly match with South Africa’s men’s Bafana Bafana scheduled for March.

Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage, has also condemned “the barbaric butchering of my people” and has announced that she is pulling out of a planned concert in South Africa in September.

Another Nigerian artist, Afrobeats star Burna Boy, has also vowed never to go to South Africa again until the government “wakes up”.

He tweeted that he had had his own “xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans” in 2017.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the African Union Commission, Mousa Faki Mahamat, has condemned the attacks.

In a statement released on Tuesday, he called for “immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”

Speaking to the BBC, South Africa’s Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, said that the rioters feared to lose their jobs to foreigners.

South Africa has, over the years, seen a growth in the number of foreign nationals. Statistics show that by 2020, the country’s population could rise to 58,721,229 and 64,465,553 by 2030.

Political analysts say African immigrants have been easy-targets following the lack of jobs and challenges with South Africa’s economy. However, South Africans believe they are retaliating against crimes committed by foreigners and also the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners.

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