Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have been going on for a while now as local citizens’ clamuor for foreigners to leave the country even as South African public figures join hands to strongly condemn the attacks that have left at least five people dead in the past week.
The recent spate of the xenophobic attacks seem not to be targeting only foreigners as legendary songbird Yvonne Chaka-Chaka found herself on the receiving end of the attacks after her daughter’s shop in Maboneng, Johannesburg was destroyed over the weekend by xenophobic looters.
According to the veteran singer, her daughter and staff at the store were inside the shop when the looters attacked. However, they were not harmed as they did not confront the attackers. “They stole everything, all the clothes and everything in the shop. Even the mannequins are on the floor. It is terrible. There was a lot of damage.” Yvonne said. “She is fine. It is very sad but we are just glad she and her staff are safe. It is a very big blow.”
Ma Yvonne, as she is fondly referred to in her home country, condemned the attacks that she says are portraying South Africans in a shameful negative light.
“You try to help other people and do your best for the community, but when something like this happens it is very disappointing. You travel to different countries but when something like this happens, you feel very ashamed as a South African.” She said as she pointed out that South Africans had the strong spirit of Ubuntu: “South Africans have lived with different nationalities and supported other nations. It is sad to see this because I know South Africans are good people.”
The veteran singer and humanitarian joined the list of South African public figures who have come out to strongly condemn the xenophobia attacks.
America based South African comedian Trevor Noah echoed the words of opposition politician Julius Malema reproving the attacks. In a video post shared by the celebrated comedian, the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader calls on South Africans to cease the barbaric acts. He goes on to warn that once done with those they deem foreigners, the attackers will turn on fellow South Africans as it is only a myth that foreigners have stolen job opportunities from the locals.
“They’re going to say, ‘The reason we don’t have jobs here, is because of these Zulus. They must go back to Natal. Xhosas must go back to Eastern Cape, Shangaans must go back to Limpopo.’ Because there will be no foreigners left to fight.” Malema opined.
South African socialite and dancer Zodwa Wabantu also boldly slammed the attacks calling the looters “our lazy brothers and sisters.” The controversial entertainer called on her fellow South Africans to stop hiding in the guise of xenophobia to rob hardworking citizens.
“As South Africans, this is so wrong. This is not xenophobia; this is not about us hating our brothers and sisters from other countries. This is people taking things from people who are working hard. I hate it,” Zodwa said.
The attacks are said to be instigated by the need to address the uneven distribution of wealth among black South Africans and the disenfranchised natives protesting the increasing number of African migrants who they claim are taking over local jobs.