When peace protestors met anti-peace protestors in Durban [PHOTOS]

Thousands of people attended a peace march held by the eThekwini municipality in Durban on Thursday to mobilise against xenophobia. The march was supported by a number of South African celebrities, political leaders and community members, but the event was marred by the outbreak of an anti-peace march at the tail end of proceedings. QINISO MBILI was there.

About 10,000 people were expected to attend the march, which came after a series of xenophobic attacks were carried out in Durban. At the stadium where the march began, the chant “Abayi ndawo”, meaning “They (foreigners) are not going anywhere,” soon became a song that people danced to.

curries filled
People sang struggle and gospel songs while waiting to be addressed.

placard 2
One of the banners displayed read: “We are all foreigners somewhere.” Another placard, held by a white young man read, “I acknowledge that I am previously and currently privileged … How can I help you to end this violence?”

Amongst the lengthy list of celebrities present at the march, were the internationally acclaimed Black Coffee and DJ Euphonik. Andile Dlamini, a Durban-based herbalist most known for clipping money to his clothes also attended, festooned with R200 notes.

There was a heavy police presence and social crime prevention volunteers marshalled the protestors to the City Hall.

Senzo Mchunu
Kwazulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu, addressing the crowds at the City Hall, said that given the potlitical violence of the late ’90s, the people of KwaZulu-Natal should have been tired of violence by now.

anti peace march
Despite the heavy police presence, a crowd of people gathered between Dr Pixley KaSeme Street and Joe Slovo Street, chanting “Abahambe!” (“They must go”).

The crowd erupted in chaos, diverting attention from City Hall. The police prevented members of the media from speaking to some members of the crowd, claiming they were violent. Police used water cannons, teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, but they would not be removed.

A bystander was hit by the water cannon while waiting for a taxi at the taxi rank and a street vendor also had his fruit stand destroyed by the water cannon. The crowd later gathered around them and sang “Senzeni Na?” (What did we do?) to the police officers.

A foreigner was spotted in the street and chased. He ran to the police and was escorted away.

special tactic
The crowd was finally dispersed when riot police arrived and used special tactics to clear the streets – walking together in a straight line and removing everyone in front of them.

– All photos by Qiniso Mbili