South African Students Congress

SASCO statement on the reckless rampage that is happening in Soweto

I am Somalian, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Zimbabwean, South African, I am African!

23 January 2015

The recent events that we have seen happening in Soweto are an abandonment of the struggle of our forebears. Our struggle is a struggle for the reversal of colonial domination; it's ideology and practices. Our struggle is about building a united Africa, a continent that shall rise out of the ashes of its oppressive past. The borders that divide African states were created by those that wanted to divide us with the sole intention of ruling us in the land of our Ancestors.

SASCO condemns with contempt and utter disgust the Afrophobic attacks by some Soweto residents on our fellow African brothers. The looting and attack on our fellow Africans is an antithesis of the struggles of Pixel Ka Seme, Nkame Nkrumah, Albert Luthuli, Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon, Albert Luthuli, Amilcar Cabral, Thomas Sankara, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela to name a few.

SASCO believes that these are not just acts of Xenophobia, but in fact Afrophobia. There have been many developments in our township such as building of malls by foreign capital, particularly European, yet our people have never invaded or looted these. These malls themselves have contributed largely to the collapse of local economic activities, with big retailers taking significant market share from black local businesses. To us it is therefore not sufficient to end with the characterization of Xenophobia.

As South African students we are children of township dwellers and we have a first hand appreciation of the poverty and unemployment that is ravaging our townships. This however can never justify the acts of hatred and resentment that underpin the manifestations in Soweto. Afrophobia in South Africa has a long history, which dates back to late colonial and Apartheid era. South African 'exceptionalism' and exclusion from Africa characterized the discourse of Apartheid South Africa. This type of discourse can never be acceptable in a new democratic South Africa.

We reaffirm without any doubt that we are Africans, we belong to this continent as confirmed by our geographical position, our shared history of struggle and oppression, our cultures and traditions and our shared vision of the Renaissance of Africa. South Africa must never regress to the dark days of its ugly past, where there was segregation, discrimination, victimization and hatred for a people.

Lest we forget that our freedom is owed also to our brothers and sister in our continent and particularly the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We can never forget the contribution of front-line states in our own liberation. The contribution of leaders such as Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Namibia, where our liberation movement, the ANC, had its headquarters. The people of Angola, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland contributed and suffered greatly, yet they continued to host our freedom fighters, hiding them from the Apartheid security forces. They did so not in expectation of anything from us, they did so because they are our fellow brothers and sisters. Why do we choose to treat our siblings as foreigners in a land we all share, Africa?

SASCO calls for the end of criminality by some residents of Soweto, we believe that those found guilty of these acts should be prosecuted and convicted. We can never allow our country to become a place for such crude elements of criminality. The police, community leaders and all peace loving people should ensure that there is order and calm in Soweto.

We urge the people of Soweto to redirect their anger and energy to the struggle for economic freedom. Our enemy is not our brothers and sisters from our continent, who leave their countries because of war and poverty, and seek asylum in our nation. Our enemy is White Monopoly Capital, which controls the commanding heights of our economy particularly the Minerals-Energy-Finance Complex. We need to take the battle to Capital; our people must be organized in disciplined popular struggles to capital.

Alleviation of poverty, job creation and the elimination of inequality rests in our ability to transform the ownership and control of our economy. The people of Soweto should be marching to industries to demand that their children are given funding to further their studies in higher education institutions. The people of Soweto should be marching to demand that private industries absorb graduates from Universities and colleges who remain unemployed in our communities. The people of Soweto should be marching to demand that executives of big capital in South Africa reduce their remuneration and increase the wage of workers at the bottom of their income scales.

SASCO calls for unity of all our people in order for us to advance the ideals of the Freedom Charter. We declare that we are indeed Africans!

For more information contact

Ntuthuko Makhombothi, SASCO President on 071 875 2209

Or

Luzuko Buku, SASCO Secretary General on 071 879 3258