Some Nigerians in South Africa have cried out against
the xenophobic attacks on Africans in parts of the
In separate telephone interviews with, the Nigerian
migrants expressed their fear of attacks as death
threats were being circulated on social media.
Itunu Bodunrin, who on Monday had attended his
master’s degree graduation ceremony at the
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, told our
correspondent that he was unable to leave the school
campus afterwards due to the violence in the town.
Bodunrin forwarded a text message to our
correspondent which, according to him, had been
circulated among South African residents via an
instant messaging mobile application, WhatsApp.
In the message, signed by several groups, including
the Patriotic Movement, Pan Local Forum,
Unemployed Workers Forum and Anti-Crime
Movement, Nigerians and other African foreigners
were warned to leave the country.
It read in part, “Dear neighbour from Africa and other
parts of the world, we have travelled the world and
have not found one country that allows the floods of
humans across its borders as South Africa is
experiencing. Even in war-torn parts like Syria,
Ukraine, Yemen and Somali.
“We were seven million people in Johannesburg city
in 2011. Today, we have an estimated 13 million. In
Johannesburg alone, you have taken over entire
suburbs: Yeoville, Berea, Bez Valley, Turfontein,
among many. You have even moved into rural parts
of our country that have 80-per-cent unemployment,
and there are no visible signs that you have jobs
“We want to be proudly part of the geographic
construct called Africa, but we are as different from
one another as Kenyans are from Nigerians; Ivorians
from Chadians, etc.
“We are pleading with you to return to your home
countries. Go and build up those countries so that we
can all live in economic, social and political prosperity
and peace as neighbours. The genocide in this corner
of Africa will be far worse than what happened in
Rwanda in 1994. Then the entire continent will be
condemned to ashes. Is that what you want?
“South Africans not fully employed or who were found
guilty of crimes, were recently repatriated from
Nigeria and rightly so.
“Our people are preparing for war against all
foreigners (from Bulgaria, Pakistan and Bangladesh
to Africa, north of the Limpopo) and we are all very
scared. Please go home and build Africa. Millions will
die if you don’t. This we can guarantee.”
Similarly, Samson Ojako, a master’s degree student
studying Mathematics also at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal noted that looting had been rampant
for over a week.
“Those that opened their shops were attacked by the
Zulu. During all of this, those of us on campus were
warned by the school management to stay indoors.
They said no one should leave the school premises,
especially during the weekend.”
Ojako noted that a large number of Zulus often
migrated from their villages into town on weekends in
order to launch attacks on non-nationals.
He likened the last one week to life in a refugee camp,
saying that those living on campus could not go out
to shop for food.
“A lot of people are living in fear, especially the
ladies. Even for us who are guys, last week, we had
to move in groups,” he said.
Olawale Olawepo, another Nigerian studying for a
doctorate degree in Industrial Organisation and
Labour Studies said the school authorities also
warned students against taking public transportation.