‘We Are Living In Fear’ -Nigerians In South Africa Cry Out

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Some Nigerians in South Africa have cried out against
the xenophobic attacks on Africans in parts of the

In separate telephone interviews with SUNDAY
PUNCH, 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.


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