(Transcript from World News Radio)
Rallies against xenophobia have been taking place across the African continent with concern over the deaths of five foreigners in South Africa.
The largest rally took place in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban where almost five thousand people marched through the streets.
Greg Dyett reports.
At least five people have been killed and foreign-owned shops looted in recent weeks in a country that has an unemployment rate of 24 per cent.
Some of those without work in South Africa accuse foreigners of taking jobs in the country at their expense.
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, has told parliament no amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.
At the Durban rally, local resident Joe says the xenophobia is extremely worrying.
“This is too much, too much like disorder and chaos and stuff like that. (Guys) need to… just unite under a peaceful kind of format instead of lashing out in anger, I suppose.”
In Johannesburg, a local mayor Mondli Gungubele called on protesters to obey the law.
“When Africa is stable and Africa is at peace, there is a chance for prosperity, and we are saying to our people let’s stop doing this. We are saying to those who are doing it they must know the law would not play games with them.”
“Stop Xenophobia in South Africa. Stop Xenophobia in South Africa. Stop Xenophobia in South Africa.”
These pleas have been chanted in Nigeria, where an anti-xenophobia rally took place in the city of Lagos.
This man says Nigerians are keen to show their solidarity with those in South Africa who are opposing the violence.
“What is happening here is our way of condemning in the strongest terms xenophobia in South Africa. I don’t believe Africans deserve what they’re going through in South Africa because Africans, particularly Nigeria, was in the forefront of the war of the fight against apartheid. You know Nigeria contributed resources, you know manpower, everything, you know even empathy, in the fight against apartheid and I believe what is happening there is not the best way to repay, you know, the sacrifices of Africans and Nigerians.”
And in Ethiopia, there were similar sentiments from the country’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
“We as Africans, we all feel that we have contributed for the liberation of South Africa from the yoke of colonisation and apartheid. So, Africans should come together and should live everywhere where they want to live, of course based on the laws and regulations of that specific country. But, we feel that this is an incident and that incident can be taken care of by the ruling party the ANC, as well as the government.”