Zimbabweans angry over SA xenophobia, threaten to disrupt Cassper Nyovest’s Bulawayo show

Following the violent xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal, some Zimbabweans have told South African hip-hop star Cassper Nyovest that he is not welcome in Zimbabwe. Nyovest is set to perform in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on 25 April, but some say that because South Africans don’t want Zimbabweans in South Africa, Zimbabweans don’t want Nyovest in Zimbabwe. RA’EESA PATHER explains.

Nyovest, the man behind hip hop hits Gusheshe and Doc Shebeleza, has been advised to cancel his performance in Bulawayo after being threatened by Zimbabweans on social media. A Facebook post by Zimbabwean musician, Augustus Baba Zaine Verunga, helped spur the furore after he called on Zimbabweans to boycott Nyovest’s show.

“This show will not happen, and if it does it will not end well. We’ll send a message to every SA citizen watching, partaking and promoting XENOPHOBIA,” Verurunga wrote on Facebook.

Nyovest’s mother saw the Facebook post, and called the rapper, asking him to cancel his performance.

Instead, Nyovest denounced the xenophobic attacks that have erupted in KwaZulu-Natal and reaffirmed his commitment to perform in Zimbabwe. “I do not support xenophobia,” Nyovest wrote on Facebook. “We are one AFRICA therefore we will dance together. I will come perform for my brothers.” Zimbabweans on social media haven’t backed down, however, saying that Nyovest’s remarks are insensitive. “So you want Zimbabweans to be dancing while their brothers and sisters are being killed? Don’t you think that will be insensitive? Cancel that show,” a commenter wrote on Nyovest’s wall. The xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal have frequently and violently targeted Zimbabweans, among other nationalities, with looters forcing them to flee from their homes and businesses. “The people from South Africa chased me out. We came here to work and not to steal or do some wrong thing,” a Zimbabwean now living in a refugee camp told EWN. While some have denounced the calls to boycott Nyovest’s show as further fuelling xenophobic tensions, City Press lifestyle editor Gugulethu Mlungu pointed out that boycotting is a political act, and people have the right to protest.

Meanwhile, some Zimbabweans have posted threatening comments on Nyovest’s Facebook page. One Facebook user wrote: “Casper show your face in ZIM and suffer the wrath of all Zimbabweans. i will definately [sic] stone you to death.”

On Thursday Vurunga posted on Facebook that his initial call to boycott “was not meant to incite violence anywhere” and that he wishes Nyovest “the very best on his show in BYO”.  The musician has since been posting online messages he has received from South Africans who have condemned their xenophobic compatriots.