Xenophobia: Artists must help end this madness

HARARE - We were greatly encouraged by the recent stance taken by  Zimbabwean artists to campaign for the boycott of concerts featuring South African musicians in protest over xenophobic attacks raging across the Limpopo.

The boycott call particularly targeted a concert featuring award-winning South African group Big Nuz which was scheduled to take place in Bulawayo on Independence Eve and another gig featuring  hip hop star Cassper Nyovest set to take place in Zimbabwe’s second largest city next weekend.

The Zimbabwean artists, who have spoken out harshly against the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, raised a very valid point in support of the boycott.

It is illogical and disrespectful for local music fans to throng concerts featuring artists from a country that is wantonly killing our kinsmen.

While boycotting the concerts won’t obviously cause the immediate cessation of the mindless xenophobic attacks, it is a welcome initiative all the same.

Artists are supposed to be the voice of the people, particularly the down-trodden ones.

Throughout history, music has played an important role in inspiring positive change during times of strife.

It is very encouraging that the calls for local music fans to boycott concerts involving South African musicians have immediately prodded Nyovest into attacking the xenophobic attacks.

The South Africa rapper, who insists he will go ahead with his scheduled Bulawayo concert, has criticised the senseless conduct of his countrymen via Twitter.

“During apartheid our freedom fighters went into exile right? They were welcomed into various countries and today we have freedom and we kill them?,” he asked in one of the tweets.

“Go down your family history you will find that some of your roots come from outside the country so xenophobia is actually killing your own. A group mentality can be dangerous if the leader is dumb.”

Nyovest is not an ordinary South African musician. He commands a huge following. Last year, the rapper won three Channel O Music Video Awards and he continued the feat early this year after he picked up five Metro FM gongs.

With such a clout in South Africa and on the continent, we hope his fellow countrymen will listen to his wise words and halt forthwith killing of fellow Africans who left their homelands due to political and economic hardships.

We also hope the anti-xenophobia song that the Zimbabwe Musician Union (Zimu) has promised to release soon will also help restore sanity and bring to an end the violence currently consuming South Africa.

Artist have a duty to continue putting pressure on the South African government to put appropriate resources in place to end xenophobia without delay.

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