Ezenkosi to play Zim Highlanders in fight against xenophobia (21.07.10)

Ezenkosi to play Zim Highlanders in fight against xenophobia (21.07.10)

JOMO Cosmos, who are rebuilding a team with the aim of returning to the Absa Premiership next season, have joined the fight against xenophobia.

Ezenkosi will play Zimbabwe soccer giants Highlanders in the Ubuntu Derby Cup at the Johannesburg Stadium on Sunday, July 25, at 3pm.

"We are using the Ubuntu Derby Cup to send a message to all Africans that we must build on the solid foundation laid by the 2010 Fifa World Cup," said Joyce Dube of the Southern Africa Women's Institute for Migration, organisers of the cup match.

"During the World Cup, everybody was preaching the gospel of Africa being one nation. The support given to the Black Stars of Ghana was incredible. We are giving xenophobia the red card. We urge Africans to support this initiative," she said.

Various stakeholders have been invited to the match.

Cosmos manager Andrew "Jaws of Life" Rabutla said: "We are happy to be part of this initiative as Africans and also urge the soccer-loving nation to support the event.

"We will use this match to denounce xenophobia. Let's use whatever means possible to fight this scourge and embrace our African brothers and sisters."

Tickets cost for the match are being sold at R20 for the open stands, R30 for the grand stands and R50 for the VIP section and are available at Computicket and Shoprite Checkers stores.

The main aim of this activity, according to the organisers, is to unite Africans through sports, arts and culture. Funds raised from ticket sales of this match will go towards school fees for disadvantaged children and to establish skills development and repatriation programs for migrants in Johannesburg and sorrounding areas.

More activities will be undertaken throughout the duration of the campaign specifically targeting communities that were affected or are likely to be affected by xenophobic attacks.

These communities are characterized by high unemployment rates, poverty, lack of infrastructure, poor service delivery and communities with migrants. Activities will be community driven and they will include interactive performances, peace building workshops, forums for communities to engage with service providers/local government.

Background:

People of Africa unite for peace – Together we can stand against xenophobia.

A 2004 study by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) or attitudes among police officers in the Johannesburg area found that 87% of respondents believed that most undocumented immigrants in Johannesburg are involved in crime, despite there being no statistical evidence to substantiate the perception.

Such views combined with the vulnerability of communities at grassroots level, unemployment, poverty led to an outbreak of violent attacks in May 2008 targeted at migrants living in these communities.

A series of riots started in the township of Alexandra (in the northeastern part of Johannesburg where locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two people and injuring 40 others.

In the following weeks the violence spread, first to other settlements in the Gauteng Province, then to the coastal cities of Durban and Cape Town. Attacks were also reported in parts of the Southern Cape, Mpumalanga, the North West and Free State.

The same xenophobic tensions have continued to simmer over the past two years, with isolated attacks flaring up every so often.

While the attacks were condemned by a wide variety of organizations and government leaders throughout Africa and the rest of the world, it was too late to contain or avoid the explosive situation even though many human rights organizations early warnings about such attacks went unheeded.

Civil society organizations, faith based organizations, international agencies; government responded swiftly, providing emergency relief and setting up several forums like Inter-Ministerial Committee on xenophobia to those were affected by violence.

Two years later, there are widespread fears among non-nationals that an outbreak of xenophobia attacks will take place after South Africa's much anticipated and celebrated soccer 2010 World Cup.

Description of the campaign

It is on these basis that civil society and government have been mobilizing to Southern African Women's Institute for Migration Affairs (SAWIMA) in partnership with Action for Transformation.

(ACTION) and Population Council who are hosting a one year campaign titled "People of Africa unite for peace – Together we can stand against xenophobia".

Through this campaign we wish to reinforce and join civil society's initiatives to fight discrimination and encourage communities to stand together as one regardless of adversity faced by many in our communities.

Objectives

  • Mobilize resources for skills development programs and repatriation.
  • Improve the relationship between refugees and the locals through sports.
  • Lobby for support at government level and other relevant structures towards mutual benefit.
  • Pay fees for the disadvantaged children.
  • Help young refugee mothers seeking help with food parcels and blankets.
  • Fund-raise for other anti xenophobia activities lined up for the year.

In Jomo Cosmos.

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CSVR is a multi-disciplinary institute that seeks to understand and prevent violence, heal its effects and build sustainable peace at the community, national and regional levels.

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