AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Xenophobia: stance taken by the Bishops of Southern Africa

Friday, 13 September 2019 xenophobia   violence   bishops  

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "The deplorable actions that we have witnessed cannot be condoned in any way nor can
they be hidden behind words that hide the real terror of xenophobia", says a statement of the Standing Committee of the lnter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) that brings together the Bishops’ Conferences of Angola and Sao Tome, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and that of South Africa, Botswana and Eswatini (Swaziland), which condemns the wave of violence against foreigners in South Africa (see Fides, 11/9/2019).
The recent violence has in particular targeted the Nigerian community living in South Africa, but also the citizens of neighboring countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe who have been involved in the xenophobic wave.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi strongly condemned the violence in the neighboring Country, saying that over 500 Mozambicans living in South Africa have had their homes destroyed by violent gangs. Mozambique is the second Country after Nigeria to have begun to repatriate its compatriots from South Africa.
The Bishops of IMBISA, in turning their thoughts and prayers to the victims of violence, invite them to forgive and avoid revenge, which risks fueling the spiral of hatred and violence. "We believe that most South Africans, from all walks of life, are also appalled at what their fellow countrymen have done. We urge you to take those hands and work together towards a peaceful", urges the statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
"Southern Africa is a region of rich diversity and such a promising future but also with a painful history. May every Catholic, Christian, people of other faiths and all people of goodwill join hands to fight this scourge which can only harm the future of our region, for us and for our future generations", the statement concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/9/2019)