Pastoral Note On Xenophobic Attacks In Africa (Bishop Pride Sibiya)
One of the greatest African human concepts and ideologies to be exported to the rest of the world can never be better enunciated than by the Zulu of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
The concept of Ubuntu (humanity, hunhu) is clearly manifest through statements like, “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu!”(A person is a person because of other people). The concept shows us that we are because of our neighbours.
Ladies and gentleman, by respecting the sanctity of the life of others, we are respecting our own lives and our future. Indeed no African should be seen as a foreigner in their own continent. Why should we subscribe to the Berlin Conference of 1885?
Was that an African conference hosted by Africans? Africa was partitioned by “foreigners” whom we are glad to live with as brothers whilst decapitating our own calling them “foreigners.” Brothers and sisters this is not right.
The Old Testament prophet Obadiah comes to mind. He was raised by God to speak to a situation where brothers were mistreating others. Obadiah 10 spells disaster for those that fight their brothers: “For your violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever.” Violence never solves a thing. As brother fights brother to death, the real foreigner is waiting in anticipation to take over the land given to them by God.
Now we are also seeing scenes of backlash from other Africans. Ladies and gentlemen, instead of revenge let us inculcate the culture of love. No Shona, Chewa, Tswana, Igbo, Yoruba, Ndebele or Zulu must die on account of one of us. We are one family: “But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.” (Galatians 5:15).
As I close, let me say this. One of my greatest times in primary schooling, was when we sand in the choir denouncing apartheid, “free Azania,” “not yet Uhuru!’ free South Africa and so on. 1994 was not just South Africa’s independence. It was Africa’s independence. Arise, Africa!
Let us love one another and unite!
Bishop Pride Sibiya
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