Madiba firmly rejected xenophobia

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pretoria – The Nelson Mandela Foundation has reminded South Africans of Madiba’s firm rejection of xenophobia following the attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng.

In 1995, Mandela addressed a gathering in Alexandra and said: “During the years I lived here, the people of Alexandra ignored tribal and ethnic distinctions. Instead of being Xhosas, or Sothos, or Zulus, or Shangaans, we were Alexandrans.

“We were one people, and we undermined the distinctions that the apartheid government tried so hard to impose. It saddens and angers me to see the rising hatred of foreigners”.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on all South Africans involved in the attack on foreign nationals to restrain themselves from any violence and instead seek solutions through dialogue.

The Foundation on Friday strongly condemned the attacks on foreigners in South Africa. 

“This is the latest manifestation of a phenomenon which has been troubling our democracy for a long time.

“Our leadership from all sectors of society (Government leaders in all spheres, business leaders, civil society, and parents who are leaders in homes) must rise from their comfort and not just speak anti-xenophobic messages but act towards social cohesion and inclusion. Inaction in this matter will have far reaching implications for South Africa and set us back decades as a stable democracy,” the Foundation said.

The Foundation called on all South Africans to take responsibility for embracing the hospitality that defines the country’s democratic order and to work together to find solutions to a problem which is destroying lives and bringing South Africa shame internationally.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive Sello Hatang has expressed his pain at the growing levels of ‘othering’ evident in South Africa.

“The measures of who belongs and who doesn’t that we see being thrown around so recklessly are deeply problematic. I myself am beginning to feel ‘othered’, as my father’s family has its roots in Lesotho and my mother’s in Botswana,” Hatang said. –


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