ZAMBIA’S founding President Kenneth Kaunda is shocked by xenophobic attacks by some South Africans against fellow Africans. Dr Kaunda told journalists yesterday that he still cannot believe that “black people can attack fellow blacks”. “This mushrooming evil of xenophobia is not African. If it continues, it will destroy the African unity we aspire for,” he said. He has since asked the South African leadership to “decisively stop the barbaric attacks”.
Dr Kaunda said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union must move in and deal the issue as a matter of urgency. He further asked the South African government to develop education programmes for the young generation for it to appreciate what other countries did to free that country from the jaws of apartheid. “Our guiding principle should be to love one another as the Bible says. What is happening in South Africa must be put to a stop immediately,” Dr Kaunda said.
Dr Kaunda played a key role in ensuring that South Africa was liberalised from the negative effects of apartheid. Zambia hosted hundreds of South Africans, including the African National Congress leadership in exile, during the apartheid era. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, where he spent 27 years, Zambia was the first country he came to. Meanwhile, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) says the xenophobic violence that erupted in South Africa has caused emotional and spiritual torment among many people. CCZ general secretary Emmanuel Chikoya said the attacks cannot be overcome with counter-violence but with peace.
“We believe in the words spoken in 1 Peter 3 that sympathy, brotherly love, tender hearts, and humble minds must drive our actions whenever we are faced with such challenges.
“If we be a Christian nation, let us not repay evil with evil but instead with love,” Fr Chikoya said. He said darkness is never overcome with darkness but with light, hence the need for Zambians and citizens of other countries in Africa to maintain peace by showing kindness for continuity of peace on the continent. Fr Chikoya said the South African government should curb violence against foreigners because it can easily spread to all parts of the continent.