lly Johannesburg – is home to thousands of foreign Africans, mainly Zimbabweans.
Some are refugees, fleeing persecution and seeking asylum; others are simply looking for work and a better life.
Many find that life is not what the expected in the city of gold. Many face discrimination from government services, harassment by police and degrading treatment from people, in taxis, schools, shops or streets.
Initiated by CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions and supported by MMINO, the musicians are working with migrants and young people to create three songs that get to the heart of the matter.
“We believe that with music we can reach more people, more effectively. Music can overcome barriers of language and literacy to unite people across cultures, which makes it a perfect tool to promote African unity.” CMFD Director Daniel Walter
Though the music focuses on the Mozambican experience, to better understand xenophobia, CMFD interviewed 100 migrants from all over the continent about their experiences in South Africa. The overwhelming majority told about how they personally suffered from discrimination, including from police and health services.
“They arrest me because of my skin colour,” said one Mozambican, “They took us to the police station and they told us that we are going back to our zoo, and then we ask them not to send us, there’s no food, no jobs in Maputo and then they said we must give them money.”
“Police came to my shop without a warrant for searching and just started vandalising my shop, looking for anything illegal and I asked why are they doing that and one of the cops said, ‘You foreigners, you bring drugs [into] SA and you cause crime,” told a Zambian shop owner.
From another, “I was selling fruits and vegetables in Bruma and two South African guys took my fruits without paying and when I asked them to pay, they said this is Mzansi’s fruits and you are a kwerrekwerre, so go to Maputo and get fruits in your country not here in South Africa.”
Based on stories collected from migrants, the musicians will be putting together words to give a voice to these experiences, calling on all people to respect one another. – CAJ News
JOHANNESBURG - Musicians from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa are putting xenophobia on the cultural agenda, in a musical initiative to get people talking about discrimination.
As the prime destination for migrants from all over southern Africa, South Africa - especia