One may ask why these Afro/Xenophobic attacks happening in South Africa and why now. Well the answer is drawn from the fact that:
South Africa, the teenager who just gotten to her twenties, is in a stage of threshold which can be seen in two lenses. Firstly youth unemployment is at an all-time high of 24%, the education system is rated one of the lowest in the world and more other social-ills result. Secondly in as much as South Africa, is at this stage, South Africa is a home of “opportunities, growth and development”, in relation to other countries in the African continent. Hence the phrase, South Africa is a gateway into Africa. As such in analysing South Africa in the two lenses, one can see that South Africa is set in a mystified state of turmoil and she needs a saviour, URGENTLY. A saviour to bring in Morality and humanness as a culture; to bring down this notion of “being a dependent nation”, a saviour that will help us to help us understand the various challenges which we are facing as a country, but instead of just understanding, help us to strategically resolve the challenges, and ensure that we have long-term success, economically, politically and otherwise. Retrieved (www.citypress.co.za)
According to the non-profit organisation – Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, its YLED Programme cohort of 2015 believes that the saviour is a young person with clear goals and believes in making a difference in this country. This young person is an African whose feet are firmly planted in the soil of South Africa. Just like the spirit of 1976 that galvanised the youth, and the spirit of the UCT Student leadership that wanted the symbol of Apartheid removed from campus, these young people are armed with a belief in this country and continent and is saying this senseless killing must stop and a dialogue be held to address the more pertinent issues faced by the people in the rural and township areas.
These young people are undergoing a self discovery and employability skills development journey, came to the session On the 18th of April 2015 to understand and gain tools that will help them solve problems and make the right choices. During this workshop session, the young people had a dialogue around the spate of the Xenophobic attacks and these were some of their thoughts
“What if it gets worse to the point where it is a mission for us to go out and buy bread.” – Natlie
“I can relate to the attacks as my father is from Zimbabwe, the reasons raised by South Africans is that foreign nationals are taking their jobs. Being a South Africa I feel that this is a distorted view which perhaps hides underlying deep social pain that they feel…. I believe that my parents are contributing to the betterment of this country and I am happy to get opportunities like these of being developed so that I can be skilled and also contribute”
“Not in our name a young people should Xenophobia be tolerated and allowed, it does not belong to this country or anywhere in the world for that matter”
A decision was made by all to take a stand against the scourge of xenophobia by:
- Observing a moment of silence
- Reciting the national anthem
- Pledging support to the #YOUTHCAN #STOPXENOPHOBIA campaign BY taking images with the #STOPXENOPHIA placards which were shared with the campaign drivers YDIDI, The Hook Up Dinner, City Year, Masase Media, Sky Printers and Brand SA and posted on social media
As mentioned earlier on that the session was about Problem Solving and Decision Making, the cohorts were tasked to stop thinking a lot about the problem but start conceptualising actionable solutions. They were also made aware that as human beings, we tend to spent a lot of time thinking about the problem (to a certain extent intellectualising the problem) but not doing anything about it, the group activities that were given to them during the session also proved to them a lot of time was spent on thinking but not on doing part.
It’s about Youth Action, at YLED we believe that young people have the power to make and drive meaningful change but that change can be brought about through action. The young people have committed to devising solutions and supporting efforts aimed at addressing the causes of Xenophobia which include young unemployment, poverty, inequality, intilerance and illiteracy.
As YLED community, we believe in creating an enabling environment whereby young people from different walks of life, can gather to tackle such problems as a collective and in a practical manner. We therefore denounce any act of intolerance, anger an hate towards others.
Henceforth, the government, non-profit organization and for profit organizations and the community at large should hold together and interrogate ways in which South Africans can move forward and resolve its core issues, and from the aforesaid statements, create an enabling environment for all.
We collectively take a stand against Xenophobia because through our efforts we are take young people through a process that liberates their minds and make them activists and responsible citizens.