A video trending online captured the moment South Africans engaged in peaceful demonstration to beg Nigerians and other African countries for forgiveness over the recent xenophobic attacks.
The South Africans sang as they marched through the streets and also held up a banner which called for unity among Africans.
Their President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has also sent out a special envoy made up of former minister Jeff Radebe, Ambassador Kingsley Mmabolo and Khulu Mbatha, a veteran leader of the ruling African National Congress. The representatives will be visiting Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia to deliver a message of solidarity and also brief each country’s government on steps South Africa is taking to end the xenophobic attacks.
The steps were taken following the jeers, boos and whistles of the crowd against the South African President at the Harare national stadium during the funeral of late Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe.
Speaking during the funeral, Ramaphosa said: “I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and to apologise for what has happened in our country. What has happened in South Africa goes against the principals of the unity of the African people that President Mugabe and President Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and the great leaders of our continent stood for. We are working very hard to encourage all our people to embrace people from all African countries.”
Ramaphosa stated that South Africans “are not xenophobic, South Africans are not against nationals from other countries.” He added that people from other countries are welcome in South Africa.
“We welcome people from other countries and we are working hard to encourage and promote social cohesion of all the people of South Africa, working and living side by side with people from other parts of our continent. We want to embrace a spirit of unity,” he said.