SAIIA Youth Policy Committee says no to xenophobia in South Africa!

We the members of the SAIIA Youth Policy Committee, firmly condemn the recent xenophobic attacks and violence against foreign nationals in South Africa.

We acknowledge that during the apartheid era our struggle heroes and liberation fighters were exiled in African countries whose citizens’ xenophobes are currently attacking. We believe that Africa should unite and stand together rather than to allow ourselves to be divided as a result of xenophobia.

We share the sentiments of former president Nelson Mandela when he said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a manner that respects and enhances the freedoms of others.” As young people we seek to build a free country that unites all people irrespective of the colour of their skin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or origin of their passport.

We believe in the ideal of African national unity, and support recent Agenda 2063 deliberations that suggest that the strength and wealth of Africa is in its unity and brotherly love for one another. We are after all Africans before we are South Africans.

We recognize the peace march and all efforts in Durban and Johannesburg against xenophobia, and call on government and all citizens to stop the violence. We further call for a national discussion to root out the main causes of xenophobia, and urge local leaders to appeal to the masses and create platforms for engagement. Effective strong leadership, political will and direct interaction with people at the grassroots level is needed to bring about a shift in the social and political climate.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from around the world and say no to xenophobia!

Read other SAIIA articles on the recent xenophobic attacks, ‘Omo Africa ni mi! Ke MoAfrika! I am an African!’ and ‘Lessons for South Africa: How Zambia prevented xenophobia.’

The SAIIA Youth Policy Committee (YPC) was formed in 2014 by high school learners and university student alumni of the YLC to allow young people the chance to have a seat at the decision-making table. The objectives of the YPC include: policy input; public outreach and SAIIA programmatic leadership. The work of the YPC also involves building networks with other young people and youth organisations in Africa.