South African domiciled multinational companies MTN and SHOPRITE are counting losses in Nigeria and Zambia after the nationals in the two countries set their outlets and installations ablaze in revenge for the attack and killing of foreigners in South Africa by black citizens in xenophobic attacks that have shaken Africa and the world at large.
With little to no involvement coming from the government and its respective security bodies; Nigerians and several African states have decided to take matters into their own hands by burning and looting MTN and Shoprite branches in several countries as well as blocking South African drivers from crossing their borders.
This was sparked by footage coming in from South Africa that shows a state that is in dire need of an emergency as shops, homes and vehicles belonging to foreigners were broken into, looted and destroyed. More recent images of live humans engulfed in fueled infernos and others hacked to death have sparked outrage from the rest of Africa with the African Union and a number of celebrities and public figures coming out to condemn the Government of South Africa and the heinous acts of its citizens.
“This goes against everything I stand for, but at what point do we take action? I understand that years of Oppression has confused South Africans to the point where they see the people who came to their defense during their Oppression as their Enemies and then worship their oppressors.” said one Damini Ogulu aka BurnaBoy, a Nigerian artist garnering a number of accolades on the international stage through his afro-music.
He also reminded South Africans of a time when Nigeria gave Nelson Mandela refuge in 1963/64 during the apartheid era when he escaped the death penalty. He was joined by a host of other public figures such as Trevor Noah and Julius Malema who condemned the acts of racism; urging for a united Africa.
This has brought the South African government under international scrutiny as many political heads like the former Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Michael Mkongi and even the President, Cyril Ramaphosa are pinned for using racially discriminatory language during their campaigns. The president who initially called for “the clampdown of foreigners” within South Africa during his presidential race has also now come out to chastise and rebuke South Africans for the ongoing xenophobic attacks.
“I condemn the violence that has been spreading around a number of our provinces in the strongest terms. I’m convening the ministers in the security cluster today to make sure that we keep a close eye on these acts of wanton violence and find ways of stopping them.” said Ramaphosa despite the government’s indifference towards the foreigners plight in the past, “The people of our country want to live in harmony; whatever concerns or grievances we may have, we need to handle them in a democratic way. There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries.”
Despite this, neighboring countries continue to issue travel warnings to their citizens and millions call for the boycott of the World Economic Forum in South Africa . In further retaliation, South African brands such as MTN and Shoprite continue to face backlash from Africans as their offices and branch stores are set ablaze and destroyed in Zambia, Nigeria and other neighboring countries.
Political figure, Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefunza blames poverty and ignorance for the prevalent xenophobia in today’s South Africa and blamed the people in power for misleading their people and attacking the wrong enemy: “For a people that have been oppressed, dehumanized over centuries, these historical facts and values must not be assumed rather, must be consciously and deliberately taught and be part of national curricula and part of political discourse of the African Governments!”
Other organizations that have come out to condemn these xenophobic attacks also include the West African terrorist organization that gave an ultimatum to the South African government via You Tube threatening to kill South Africans in Nigeria.