Africans in Sweden demonstrate against mob attacks in South Africa

A group of Africans led by the Nigerian Union in Stockholm gathered on Wednesday September 18th, 2019, in front of the South African Embassy in Stockholm to protest at the widespread attacks on the African community in that country.

The two-hour demonstration which started at 2 o'clock p.m. was peaceful and very well-organized. Participants chanted slogans and carried banners and placards condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa that have resulted in killings and the seizure and destruction of properties belonging to members of immigrant African communities in South Africa. They demanded immediate and adequate compensation for the victims of the mob violence. The Nigerian community in particular was singled out by the South African mob in violent acts believed to have been instigated by top South African politicians and leading members of the country's police service. Such grave lawlessness should never be allowed to occur again.

The demonstrators praised the South African leader, Mr. Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters, for their brave stance against the actions of the mob and for denouncing attempts at making African immigrants scapegoats for the country's grave economic problems.

Speaker after speaker came forward to denounce the government and leadership of South Africa and rejected the belated hypocritical apology rendered by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Speakers also called for collective and effective African and world response to xenophobia which must be recognised for what it is: a crime against humanity.

Demonstrators strongly criticised the government of South Africa under the leadership of the multimillionaire president Ramaphosa for failing to combat xenophobia and afrophobia.

Watching the demostration in silence from a distant corner and with apparent unease but otherwise showing very little concern was a trio. They were apparently an office girl and two office boys from the South African embassy. With folded arms and some other posture showing indifference, they looked on from their corner as a demonstrator holding the microphone turned to them and reminded them that not a few of the current leaders of South Africa got moral and material support including free education at all levels from other African countries including Nigeria. That was in South Africa's hour of need when its people were up in arms against apartheid oppression. Even after apartheid, Nigeria extended free initial assistance to South African companies to help them start businesses in Nigeria. This is all well documented.

Demonstrators also pointed out that there are civilised norms for dealing with local or foreign nationals who break the laws in their host countries. Governments and law enforcement agencies have the duty to make and apply laws and the duty also to protect innocent people on their territories. Allowing mobs to go on the rampage can never be accepted. South Africa should feel ashamed of this collective mob violence directed at innocent people.

Nigeria is, after all, Africa's largest economy and that country and its government have welcomed significant South African investments and South African companies which are doing quite well there. It is obvious therefore that by failing to prevent unprovoked attacks on Nigerian and other nationals resident in South Africa and allowing mobs to sieze or destroy their properties, the Government of South Africa is taking a calculated risk as such vandalism can in the end prove very costly not least to South Africa and its economy.

It was announced at the demonstration that The Ghana Union – Greater Stockholm would be holding an open meeting on Sunday September 22nd to discuss and draft a resolution on South Africa.

At the close of the demonstration the two policemen who had followed the event came forward to congratulate the orgainzers and shake hands with them before leaving the embassy premise apparently satisfied and impressed by the fine behaviour of the participants.

Anthony Turkson, Sept. 25th, 2019

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