PRESS RELEASE: Discussion on Migration and Xenophobia to be held at the Peoples’ Justice Fan Park

17 Jun

As part of its Red Card Campaign – a month-long campaign aimed at raising awareness regarding the Apartheid Litigation (“Khulumani Reparation Lawsuit”), “red-carding” companies that supported apartheid and engaging in critical debates regarding the legacies of apartheid – Khulumani Support Group is commemorating World Refugee Day with a panel discussion on Migration and Xenophobia, in solidarity with refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants in South Africa, who have not received the warm welcome extended to visitors to the country for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. In the midst of the euphoria regarding the World Cup, this discussion seeks to highlight the on-going harassment and ill-treatment of African non-nationals living in South Africa and propose strategies to combating xenophobia. The discussion will be held at the People’s Justice Fan Centre (929 Mphuthi Street, Central Jabavu, Soweto) on Friday 18 June at 10:15am.

Just over two years have passed since the shocking events of May 2008 when some 120 people, assumed to be foreign Africans, were killed by mobs led largely by young disaffected men who rampaged through some of the country’s poorest informal settlements, searching for foreigners, disparagingly called “makwerekwere”. Thousands were displaced in these attacks and government’s response was and continues to be very inadequate as xenophobic attacks have continued. As the continent most affected by the displacement of people as a result of war, political conflict, poverty and starvation, the question will be asked what measures are being taken in South Africa to counter the scourge of xenophobia and to promote the inclusion of everyone living in the country within the guarantees and protections provided by the country’s Constitution.

Khulumani, a social movement with over 58 000 survivors of gross human rights violations committed during apartheid, with its partner, the Southern African Centre for Torture Survivors, provided capacity-building in the hosting of tough conversations on migration and xenophobia to its facilitators living in 15 informal settlements in Gauteng Province during 2008. Most of these facilitators had been military combatants in underground liberation armies and had some experience of living in different African countries. The work was powerful in starting conversations in places where people meet everyday – on public transport, in churches and taverns and at informal soccer matches. The struggle to sustain and to expand these activities to reach out to fellow South Africans, who were insulated from the rest of the African continent by apartheid, and to deal with deep-seated xenophobic attitudes and stereotypes, continues.

Khulumani has continued to build relationships with partner organisations in the sub-region, in particular with organisations in Zimbabwe and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to stand with them in solidarity. The panel will be moderated by Bishop Paul Veryn and will include speakers from these communities in South Africa as well as speakers who work on issues of forced migration in South Africa.  For more information, please contact:

Visit Khulumani’s Red Card Campaign at https://redcardcampaign.wordpress.com/

Mr Tshepo Madlingozi on 082 496 9914

Bishop Paul Verryn on 082 600 8892 or

Mr Hassen Lorgat on 082 362 6180

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