The voices of the Bishops of African countries against xenophobic violence in South Africa are being raised. “South Africans must not forget that other Africans have played a leading role in helping to end apartheid and bring freedom to their country”, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, at the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra, reported Fides News Agency.
The Cardinal who is also the Goodwill Ambassador of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), also described the recent attacks on other foreign nationals by South Africans as unfortunate. “These incidents can lead to attacks against South Africans in other countries. This is not the first time this has happened. It happened in 2008, 2012 and this year.”
The Bishops of Zambia also condemned xenophobic violence. “We are deeply saddened by the occurrence of xenophobic attacks in South Africa,” they said in a statement dated September 6, 2019, signed by Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu of Chipata, President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).
“We fear that if this situation continues it could cause unpleasant consequences for the citizens of South Africa who live in other countries … we, therefore, ask the South African government to increase its efforts in handling the situation by maintaining the values of civilization, tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the rainbow nation,” the statement said, referring to the concept of a “rainbow nation” expressed by Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid, in which every ethnic group lives in equal dignity.
The Bishops also warned local political leaders to avoid statements that could incite violence against African immigrants, and urged Zambians to refrain from revenge against South Africans living in Zambia.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg has announced that 600 Nigerians will be repatriated after the last wave of xenophobic violence that killed 12people last week.
Zambia and Madagascar have canceled football matches against the South African national team while Tanzania has suspended flights to South Africa.