April 22, 2015
For Immediate Release ~ Dakar- Senegal, April 22, 2015
« And above all, my body as well as my soul, beware of assuming the sterile attitude of a spectator, for life is not a spectacle, a sea of miseries is not a proscenium, a man screaming is not a dancing bear… »
Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal
« Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mould it and those committed to breaking it up; those who aim to open our eyes, to make us see the light and look to tomorrow…. And those who wish to lull us into closing our eyes. »
Ngugi wa Thiong’ó
In the last week of March 2015, a wave of events – described as xenophobic by some, and afrophobic by others – swept across South Africa, manifesting as an ugly reminder of a cruel past that most had hitherto believed buried, given the rise and growth of the rainbow nation. It is true that history often repeats itself, sometimes painfully. We recall that in 2008, similar events occurred, targeting African migrants living in South Africa, with tragic and horrific outcomes. Sixty-seven (67) innocent souls were lost, their precious lives never to be regained. This history, with its horror, is being repeated and this is no coincidence. It is consequent to the actions of men eminently respected in South Africa, such as Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Edward Zuma – son of South African President who, with full knowledge of the consequences, made calls to send African ‘foreigners’ in South Africa back to their countries. The narratives of these recent hate-filled and violent days have been largely documented and denounced by our South African Fellows, particularly Kim Harrisberg, through an article  and a petition  with an urgent call to address communities affected by xenophobia, Sebabatso Manoeli through her initiative« South Africans 4 Africa », and Simamkele Dlakavu through her initiative “Sakha Ingomso Lethu (we are building our tomorrow).”
These hate-speeches, by wielders of influence in the mould of King Goodwill Zwelithini and public figures such as Edward Zuma were followed by cruel acts against African immigrants in South Africa. Most of the seven (7) victims of these attacks are yet to be identified, but horrifying images of their murders have been circulated to express the inexpressible and display these inhumane acts to the world.
History, however, will remember the names of Zimbabwean Mhofu, Ethiopian Tescma, and Mozambican Emmanuel Sithole, brutally executed while the world watched.
This “witch hunt” is entirely unworthy of South Africa – a nation for whose liberation many have fallen… and many would do again if the need arose. A nation that offered us the eighth wonder of the world: Nelson Mandela, our Madiba, whose elegy we still continue to sing.
Following these summary executions and lynching of Africans by fellow Africans, we the MILEAD Fellows of the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, chosen to contribute to the transformation and development of the African continent through over 40 of our respective countries from all regions of the continent, strongly condemn these acts of xenophobic and afrophobic violence.
We, raise our voices through this statement, to equally express our solidarity with the families of the victims, and are very much sensitive to the conditions of fear under which other African migrants are currently living in South Africa.
We, the signatories to this statement, demand that the South African government takes the necessary and urgent actions, including punitive actions, against the instigators of these criminal acts of violence, which have claimed seven (7) lives and led to countless injuries as well as displacement of immigrants. We demand that the South African government protects ALL African citizens and their properties on South African soil.
We, in solidarity with our sister, Kim Harrisberg and all other South African MILEAD Fellows, ask that Mr. Malusi Gigaba, South African Minister of Home Affairs, takes the necessary action against those who incited this violence. We ask that in addition to retracting their statements and publicly condemning this afrophobic violence, these instigators should face criminal sanctions commensurate with the tragic results of their statements.
We encourage you to join us in signing this petition started by Kim Harrisberg on Change.org: http://www.change.org/p/south-african-leadership-mr-malusi-gigaba-urgently-address-communities-affected-by-xenophobia
As young Africans, we demand that our respective governments and the African Union demand immediate cessation of violence and provide assistance to their citizens based in South Africa. We equally call for the protection of all other Non-African minorities. We also ask for support, from the African Union, for all action leading to better national dialogue in South Africa, encouraging debates on South Africa’s immigration laws adopted in 2014, and promoting a more effective African integration system among its 54 member States. We hope that these measures will aid in preventing the treatment of Africans as outcasts, especially on African soil.
We, as a network of over 175 young African leaders and representing our communities from 44 African countries, encourage all Africans across the continent to keep the spirit of our Pan-African unity and solidarity alive. We strongly encourage our brothers and sisters across Africa to resist and reject any reprisal attacks or hate language against South Africans in our various countries.
About MILEAD Fellows: The MILEAD Fellows Network is a growing and dynamic Pan-African network of young African women leaders. With over 175 exceptional young leaders representing 44 countries, MILEAD Fellows share a commitment to shape the future of Africa and they form a growing powerful pan-African community that will dramatically impact the future of the continent.
For more information, contact Moremi Initiative: Tel: +233 242 901222 (GHANA); +1 510 648 1021 (USA)
 His execution was televised !