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Nigerian music stars boycott South Africa over xenophobic attacks

Nigerian music stars Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage (PHOTO/File)

ABUJA – Nigerian music star Burna Boy has vowed never to set foot in South Africa again following fresh violence that has erupted mostly targeted at foreign nationals.

In a series of tweets, Burna Boy said that he had not been in the country since 2017 because of his “own xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans”. He said would not do so again until the South African government woke up, but it needed to perform “a miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this”.

 

Relatedly, another Nigerian music star Tiwa Savage has described the xenophobic attacks as barbaric and sick and has cancelled her concert in South Africa which was set for 21st September.

“I refuse to watch the barbaric butchering of my people in SA. This is SICK. For this reason I will NOT be performing at the upcoming DSTV delicious Festival in Johannesburg on the 21st of September. My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this.” tweeted Tiwa Savage.

 

News24, a South African news agency, said Monday’s riots came after hundreds of people marched in Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) demanding foreigners leave. They targeted “shops they believed to be owned by foreign nationals”, it reported.

Pedestrians pass burnt out cars on the side of a street on the outskirts of Johannesburg Monday Sept. 2, 2019. Police had earlier fired rubber bullets as they struggled to stop looters who targeted bu

Pedestrians pass burnt-out cars on the side of a street on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Monday, September 2, 2019 [The Associated Press]

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama reacted strongly to the scenes of violence on Monday.

“Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection,” he said on Twitter. “Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.”

In 2015, Nigeria had recalled its ambassador to South Africa following a spate of attacks against immigrants.

But South African Police Minister Bheki Cele dismissed reports the ongoing attacks were xenophobic.

“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” he told reporters on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”

In a statement on Monday, the South African Human Rights Commission said it was “deeply concerned by violence, looting, arson and vandalism plaguing much of Johannesburg”.

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