Foreign nationals are slowly returning to their communities. Many had fled following the xenophobic attacks which flared up mainly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
In Gauteng, community leaders in Ramaphosa Informal Settlement east of Johannesburg came together to bridge the gap between foreign nationals and locals.
Ramaphosa informal settlement was a hotspot in 2008 after the burning to death of a Mozambican which grabbed local and international headlines. But now, this community has rallied together to keep the foreigners safe.
Ethiopian store owner, Girma Alum fled Soweto in 2012 when his store was looted. Last week, once again he had to pack his stock and flee.
“It’s three days since we open, it’s fine now. I don’t know what is the next step, we are trying to do our job,” says Alum.
Community leaders met with senior government officials and they shared concerns and solutions with Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu. The objective is to ensure that attacks do not spike again.
Nathaniel Mohale of South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) says: “We remember last time when there was an issue of xenophobia, there were also South Africans who died and we don’t want that again.”
Actonville Ward Councillor, Imtiaz Loonat, says that he is certain that reintegrating foreign nationals and good leadership will result in the combat of xenophobic violence.
Some of the concerns raised relate to the high rate of unemployment which some blamed on those from neighbouring countries.
Shabangu says that: “Issues of jobs, issues of people that are here, there’s nothing new.
“South Africa always had migrants who came and worked but what we seeing today is cause for concern but I’m comforted by the people of this community.”
On the other side of Johannesburg, Artists, Musicians and Writers are adding their voices. A song to combat xenophobia, Mamela Afrika, has been penned.
Ramaphosa community members will take to the street on Monday to welcome back their fellow Africans from the continent.
Photo Credit : aljazeera