“I was cooking my meal and then I heard people screaming outside, so I opened my door to look what was happening. I saw two of my friends on the ground getting hit by men who had their heads covered. One guy pushed my door and came inside; he had a panga and told me, ‘Take your shit and leave my country!’”
Malawian Abdul Rahim is just one foreign national who has been forced to flee his home owing to the xenophobic violence that continues to consume KwaZulu-Natal and has now spread to other parts of the country. To date, at least six people have been killed, and thousands of foreign nationals have been displaced.
Must-read, this week
To be fair, official responses to the most recent outbreak of xenophobia are an improvement on those in January, but that’s not saying much. Meanwhile, yesterday’s Peace March in Durban turned out to be anything but peaceful. Teargas at a peace march? It’s enough to make us weep.
It’s been a year since the Chibok girls were kidnapped in Nigeria and #BringBackOurGirls became a thing on Twitter. Wits university students and staff held a small solidarity march earlier this week, but – despite the fact that hashtag activism has spilled out onto the street – the girls are still no closer to being found.
We like to keep it light on the weekends, but sometimes the real world gets in the way. Which is why we can’t think of a better way to spend this weekend than taking practical action to support victims of xenophobia. Whether you have money, time, or goods in kind, Gift of the Givers, the KZN Red Cross, and the foreign nationals they’re supporting could use some help.
The week ahead
We’ll continue to report on the xenophobic violence, amplifying the voices of people affected on the ground. If xenophobic attacks are occurring in your community, please drop us a line to share your story, pictures, or videos. And don’t forget to let us know if you’re involved in any relief efforts, so we can help get the word out.