Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 23: Burna Boy poses for a portrait during the BET Awards 2019 at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
Burna Boy, Trevor Noah, & Wizkid Weigh In On South African Riots
If you haven’t heard, over 100 people have been arrested in and around Johannesburg, South Africa due to violent riots.
The riots started last week after a local Black taxi driver in Pretoria was shot and killed by a drug dealer who was from Nigeria. It is said that the shooting occurred because local taxi drivers were trying to get drug addicts off the streets.
This killing led to several businesses being looted and vehicles being burned. According to reports, a majority of the targeted businesses are those owned by immigrants from other African countries who now call South Africa home.
But, the riots seem to stem from a deeper issue. It is being said that many South Africans are angry over African immigrants coming to their country and taking jobs and wealth. It has led to many having a deep-rooted hatred for those who are not South African. The term for this hatred is xenophobia.
But, many feel that this resentment is misplaced.
Comedian Trevor Noah, who is from South Africa, weighed in recently on what is going on in his homeland. He pointed out that there are 2.3 million immigrants in South Africa. Of that number, only 1.6 million are of African descent and only 0.00001 percent of them claim the country’s wealth.
“Yours is complete misplaced anger, prejudice, and xenophobia built up out of inferiority complex created by decades of apartheid and oppression,” he said. “I don’t see fellow African as a competitor but a fellow compatriot who is struggling to feed his family and have some comfort in this short lifetime.”
This type of violence isn’t new in the country. In 2008, a string of xenophobic attacks claimed the lives of 60 people and forced nearly 50,000 people to leave the country.
Burna Boy, a popular rapper and Afro Beats artist who is from Nigeria, broke his social media hiatus to personally give his thoughts on what is going on. He pointed out that Nigerian and other African immigrants are not enemies. In fact, the Nigerian government once stepped in to help Black South Africans during apartheid.
He even vowed that until the South African government wakes up and takes control, he will not step foot back in the country.
In a series of Twitter posts, he wrote:
“Ok. I have been away from social media personally until today. Ordinarily, at a time like this, I should come here and say something to try and calm the situation because my Dream has always been to Unite AFRICA and make us realize that Together we will Literally rule the world.
But Today After watching the Killing of my people in South Africa the same way we have all watched it happen a few times in the past. F*CK ALL THAT! I personally have had my own xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans and because of that, I have not set foot in SA since 2017. And I will NOT EVER go to South Africa again for any reason until the SOUTH AFRICAN government wakes the f*ck up and really performs A miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this.
This goes against everything I stand 4, but at what point do we take action? I understand that years of Oppression has confused South Africans to the point where they see the people who came to their defense during their Oppression as their Enemies and then worship their oppressors.
Lemme also say that there are some South Africans who are Amazing, Progressive AFRICAN people and I will forever Love them like I love myself. But they are not many at all.”
Fellow Nigerian rapper, Wizkid, also weighed in on the subject, calling for peace amongst Africans and chastising celebrities for inciting violence.
Since the riots escalated over the last week, 5 people have been killed and it doesn’t appear that things are calming down.