A PRIVATELY owned Zambian radio station has stopped playing South African music in protest against the xenophobic attacks.
“Radio QFM has blacked out the playing of South African music effective April 17, in protest against xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals taking place in that country,” QFM managing director Asan Nyama said in a statement posted on the station’s website.
Nyama said the move to black out South African music indefinitely was in solidarity with Africans who have fallen victim to xenophobic attacks in Durban.
He said considering that QFM had a listenership not only in Zambia but across the world, the station felt duty bound to voice its protest at the attacks by stopping the air play of their music.
He said considering it was not the first time foreign nationals were being targeted in xenophobic attacks in SA, there was a need to send a clear message to South Africans that violence on fellow Africans negated African unity.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said at the weekend: “In South Africa,xenophobic attacks over the last three weeks have … displaced over 5000 foreign nationals.” It said it was “extremely concerned”.
“We would like to underscore that those affected in these xenophobic attacks are refugees and asylum seekers who were forced to leave their countries due to war and persecution.”
Neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique announced plans to evacuate their citizens, as the violence drew regional outrage.
South African singer Kelly Khumalo was forced to postpone performances in London because of outrage, while kwaito group Big Nuz had to cancel a concert in Zimbabwe, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Friday.
The anger in neighbouring countries was exacerbated by the fact that they hosted thousands of South African exiles during the struggle against apartheid – a point that President Jacob Zuma raised in a speech to parliament last week.
South Africa’s relatively sophisticated economy attracts both legal and illegal African immigrants, but massive inequalities and high unemployment among locals breeds resentment against them.
“We believe that the cause of the xenophobic attacks is policy failure by the government,” said Mienke Mary Steytler, of the South African Institute of Race Relations.Advertisement
“High unemployment and inequality are not being tackled.”
The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) condemned the “barbaric, criminal and xenophobic murder of innocent foreigners”, calling on the South African government to act quickly to end the violence.