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    ISA STATEMENT ON XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    Recent weeks have witnessed xenophobic attacks on African immigrants in South African cities. The Igbo Studies Association (ISA) condemns acts of violence perpetrated against African immigrants, especially Nigerians many of whom are Igbo living in South Africa. These gruesome acts have resulted in deaths and injuries. Since the fall of apartheid in 1994, and in the post-apartheid ANC-led government, South Africa has enjoyed economic growth thanks in part to many immigrants moving to the country for job and leisure. However, just as in 2008, waves of xenophobic attacks that occurred in April 2015 have threatened the lives and wellbeing of African immigrants in the country. The ISA implores the government of South Africa to step up and protect the lives and property of immigrants who contribute to the cultural diversity and economic vitality of the country.

     

    Recent weeks have witnessed xenophobic attacks on African immigrants in South African cities. The Igbo Studies Association (ISA) condemns acts of violence perpetrated against African immigrants, especially Nigerians many of whom are Igbo living in South Africa. These gruesome acts have resulted in deaths and injuries. Since the fall of apartheid in 1994, and in the post-apartheid ANC-led government, South Africa has enjoyed economic growth thanks in part to many immigrants moving to the country for job and leisure. However, just as in 2008, waves of xenophobic attacks that occurred in April 2015 have threatened the lives and wellbeing of African immigrants in the country. The ISA implores the government of South Africa to step up and protect the lives and property of immigrants who contribute to the cultural diversity and economic vitality of the country.

    The sacrificial role African countries played in the successful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa is beyond dispute. The ISA considers as rather unfortunate the position of President Jacob Zuma that African immigrants provoked the assaults and his further questioning as to why the immigrants are not in their own countries. We believe that such an inflammatory statement could potentially undermine the peaceful co-existence of people as well as the political and economic stability of South Africa.

    During a time when xenophobic attacks threaten to damage the diplomatic relationship between South Africa and its African neighbors, the continent needs leaders who are intellectually and temperamentally attuned to the complexities of South Africa’s social and economic realities. More importantly, needed also are leaders who are willing to use diplomatic means to prevent these attacks from resulting into a full-scale crisis. We urge African countries whose citizens are affected by this inexcusable violence to resist the temptation to allow this incident to damage their relationships with South Africa, a bond that has been strenghtened by the demise of apartheid. Rather this tragic incident should be seen as an opportunity to collectively address the enduring “economic apartheid” that persists even after the collapse of political apartheid in South Africa and colonial rule throughout the African continent.

    Signed

    Chima Korieh, PhD
    President, Igbo Studies Association
    On Behalf of the Association.

    SUBMIT ABSTRACT - 2020

     

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