South Africans abroad say #notoxenophobia in powerful campaign

2015-04-21 11:05
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Cape Town - Following a recent spate of violent xenophobic attacks across the country, South Africans living abroad are showing their solidarity to the victims in a powerful campaign, highlighting their own foreigner status.

Popular expat news site, SA People has been sharing photographs on Facebook sent to them by South Africans in all corners of the globe with the simple anti-xenophobia message "I am a foreigner in..."

The first of the series was sent by a young woman named Nandi Mthethwa, originally from KZN, but now living in China. In the photograph she is snapped holding a brown cardboard sign reading "Stop xenophobia. I'm a foreigner in China." She is accompanied by four friendly-looking Chinese women. 

The caption to her photograph reads:

"It's our duty to be vigilant, to protect our fellow Africans, to speak out against Xenophobic Attacks. Violence is a tool of the ignorant. I grew up in a hectic environment - guys were carrying guns, stealing cars, there were house break-ins, rapes, robbery and pregnant girls with guys who ran away from their responsibilities...but foreigners were not there. Today South Africans want to use foreigners as an excuse for not being able to achieve what they want to achieve. We must come together."

Two more expats followed Mthethwa's lead, contributing photographs of their own - one showing an industrial scene somewhere in Canada and another a family snapshot from Oman.

Last week legendary explorer, philanthropist and all round colourful character, Kinglsey Holgate also made an extremely strong case against xenophobia, expressing his shame over the senseless violence. 

In a post on their Facebook page, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation said that on their many humanitarian and geographic expeditions into Africa, they had received 'much in the way of kindness and hospitality' in neighbouring countries. 

"The continued senseless killing, violence and lawless looting of the last few days makes us ashamed and on behalf of the vast majority of peace loving South Africans, I'd like to send condolences to those who have lost loved ones and to say 'Ndikupepesa' - we are TRULY SORRY!!" the post read.

In the meantime, News24 has reported that retaliatory xenophobic attacks have broken out in Mozambique and that many South African citizens who work there have been brought back to safety in South Africa and trucks carrying goods across the border have been grounded.

South Africans heading to the country have also been warned to postpone their travel plans till further notice, as vehicles carrying South African number plates are being stoned by angry locals

Are you an expat living abroad? Why not join the 'I'm a foreigner in' campaign? Send us your pic to, tweet @traveller24_sa or tag traveller24_sa on Instagram. 

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