After Church Leaders Condemn Xenophobia, South Africa Reaches out to Affected Nations

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (right) and Jeff Radebe of South Africa

Days after various Church leaders’ condemnation of attacks targeting foreigners from African countries in South Africa that has resulted in some African countries facilitating the repatriation of their respective citizens, the government (South Africa) has decided to reach out to the affected African nations in a bid to repair the damage and manage the crisis.

Catholic Church leaders across the continent, including national and regional conferences of bishops, have in the past weeks strongly condemned xenophobic violence in South Africa and called on affected countries to peacefully resolve the crisis and stop its aggravation.

South Africa has picked on prominent personalities as envoys to various African countries to “apologize.”

“I have taken steps to send envoys around various parts of the continent to explain to them what has happened and to offer our apologies,” South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has been quoted as saying.

“We’ll be trying to repair the damage that has been caused by all this,” added President Ramaphosa, restating his country’s commitment to mend the harm that has been caused by the violence.


In his message to the President of Nigeria, one of the South African envoys, Jeff Radebe said the xenophobic attacks were not typical of his compatriots and did “not represent what we (South Africa) stand for.”

“South African police will leave no stone unturned,” Radebe said and added, “Those involved must be brought to book.”

In response, President Buhari pledged to keep the relationship between his country and South Africa intact and even “solidified.” 

The South African peace emissaries are also expected to visit Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

In the face of xenophobic attacks, Church leaders in Africa have had a common stand that Africans strive to coexist peacefully.

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“We implore the home nations of those affected, not to raise the stakes by responding in revenge with violence,” Catholic Bishops forming the Inter-regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) have recently stated after reports emerged of retaliatory attacks targeting South Africans living in some of the affected African countries.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.