Women and Children at Concern (WCC) and other civil society organisations were accompanied by foreign nationals and citizens through the streets of Cape Town chanting “we are one”. They headed to parliament to plead with the South African government for justice, humanity and assistance in insuring the safety of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the face of xenophobia.
The organisation wanted to urge individuals to stand together and contribute to building a strong South Africa alive with Ubuntu and a prosperous Africa as a whole.
When asked what kind of South Africa they hope to see by the end of the year, WCC said one that is:
Non-discriminating, one that stands for what they portray to be
outside, while respecting and acknowledging that refugees, asylum seekers and all
immigrants are human beings just like them. The organisation also hopes that the South African justice system can be fair to all Africans living in South Africa, and give refugees, asylum seekers and all immigrants residing in the country the assurance of proper documentation. WCC believes this will simplify the task, help build Africa into a continent that its citizen will be proud of, and restore the spirit of solidarity among Africans.
South Africa was first exposed to xenophobia in 2008 and such attacks can still be seen to date, however the department of International Relations and Co-operation said they were yet to get to the bottom of its cause and its termination.
Last month at a gathering with ambassadors from various countries across Africa, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu spoke against the attacks on Malawians in Durban saying they were criminal, not xenophobic. The eThekwini municipality and the Malawi High Commission proclaimed the same thing.
The march on Tuesday was a striving towards what the WCC always works for: achieving peace and insuring that basic human rights are upheld. In a message to South Africa they said South Africa could not live in isolation as it is a part of the African continent. They urged Africans to show one another respect and dignity because we need each other.
We spoke to Pole Pole waPole Pole from the Bamasaaba Association of South Africa regarding the aim and desired outcome of the march.