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Wits says #NoToXenophobia

- By Refilwe Mabula

The University of the Witwatersrand held a march on Wednesday, 22 April 2015, on its premises to denounce the xenophobic attacks on foreigners which have reoccurred across South Africa in recent weeks. 

Almost 2000 students and staff participated in the march themed, No one is illegal; the borders are.

Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib, condemned the violent acts and reiterated the University’s commitment to the preservation of human rights.

“It is absolutely fundamental that this University serves the continent of Africa and the world. When we stand here as Africans, we stand at the very core of humanity. We stand here in solidarity with people in oppression all over the world,” said Habib.

Wits SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini, said the “black on black violence” sickened him. “Why do we hate ourselves so much as black people? … We will protect our African brothers and sisters physically if needs be,” said Dlamini.

A former Wits SRC President, Morris Masutha, called for the South African justice system to be revamped because he finds its “elitist and inconsistent”.

“We are saying no one is illegal but the borders are. These borders represent nothing but the legacy of colonialism which exploited Africans. It is a shame that today we allow those borders to exist in our minds,” said Masutha.

Elvis Munatswa, a PhD student from Zimbabwe, who was attacked at a taxi rank last week, also attended the march on crutches. Munatswa was also called a “dog”, robbed of his personal belongings and was left in unfamiliar surroundings.

Cedrick Tshizainga, President of the Wits Congolese Society, said that he has also experienced a touch of xenophobia on campus. “Some students here on campus tell us to go back,” he said.

Carson Kundiona, Secretary of the Zimbabwe Students Association, said South Africa is his home and praised the youth at the march for spreading the message of love and unity.