Ghanaians in South Africa fear for their lives following signs of growing xenophobia in that country which has once again reared its ugly head few days ago.
Though Nigerian nationals are said to be the main target of the attacks believing they are into drug trade, some Ghanaians have come under attacks and have had their stores looted.
Earlier this month, South Africans accusing foreigners of bringing drugs and prostitution to their neighborhood torched the homes of African migrants. They also accused the foreigners of taking over their jobs.
Johannesburg’s mayor accompanied police on a subsequent raid of the area, apparently making good on an election promise to rid the city of crime and people who are here “illegally.”
That sentiment spread to Pretoria, where foreign-owned shops were looted overnight on Feb. 20. Now, a group of “concerned” South African citizens are reportedly planning a march on Feb. 24 with xenophobic undertones that have alarmed the African Diaspora Forum.
“We write to you so that when South Africa experiences a repeat of the 2008 xenophobic violence which left at least 62 people dead, you will not be surprised,” the forum said in a letter, urging South Africa’s president to act.
The 2008 wave of attacks left thousands displaced, 342 immigrant-owned shops looted and 213 burned down. The violence and hate was captured with the image of a Mozambican man burned alive.
Speaking to Kasapa News, a Ghanaian resident in South Africa named Richard, who described the situation as frightening urged government to intervene immediately to ensure their safety.
“For the past two days we’ve been indoors, we beg government to come to our aid as soon as possible, otherwise from Friday there will be bad news. The local people have threatened to embark on a ruthless attack on foreigner coming Friday. Government should speak to the South African authorities on our behalf so our lives would be spared. Our High Commission here in South Africa is not also helping matters, even when you go there with your problem no one gives you audience. We need government to act now.”