Buyanga's foundation helps xenophobia victims

HARARE - Ordinary people are now helping foreign nationals, who were displaced during the recent xenophobic attacks, to return to their home countries.

City Press has learnt that apart from several foreign governments’ initiatives to evacuate their citizens, several business people are lending a helping hand.

Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga has engaged Gift of the Givers pledging to provide 10 buses to transport foreign nationals to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.

In a letter written by his Hamilton Foundation (HF) non-profit organisation, the property tycoon said: “We were saddened to learn of attacks on foreign nationals and the atrocities committed by our fellow African brothers.”

Buyanga said the carnage came about without warning, however, his foundation offered to assist individuals wishing to return to their home countries “with transport as well as food parcels and many other needs”.

The self-made millionaire also said he was touched by the barbaric attacks.

“I know how it feels like to be ill-treated in a foreign country. I know there are people who want to go home but may not afford to do so,” Buyanga said.

While the Zimbabwean businessman has said he will not leave South Africa (SA) himself, the property investor also said logistical processes were under way to assist those who want to return to their home countries.

About two years ago, Buyanga’s charity initiated a process to help child-headed homes in Johannesburg’s impoverished Alexandra township – one of the xenophobic attack hotbeds and where Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole was murdered in cold-blood.

Under that R500 000 programme, the families have received food parcels, school uniforms, rentals and tuition since 2013.

Essentially, these are kids that have been orphaned by HIV/ Aids and a situation that has forced some of the elder children into life-threatening habits such as drug dealing and prostitution, in order to fend for their younger siblings.

According to HF’s objective, the assistance was aimed at preventing these socio-economic ills and keeping these children in school.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government recalled their high commissioner to Pretoria in protest against the attacks, which have seen seven people killed.

The attacks started a few weeks ago allegedly after King Goodwill Zwelithini accused foreign nationals of being responsible for violent crime and said they should return to their home countries.

The attacks started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng and North West.

The South African government has launched several initiatives aimed at addressing the problem.

The latest wave of xenophobic attacks is not the first time South African turned on their brothers and sisters from the continent. In 2008, many foreigners were attacked, robbed and some murdered.

Comments (4)

I would like to thank Buyanga for the assistance he has offered his fellow African brothers and sisters. Thank you Sir. Secondly we commend the action taken by the Nigerian government of recalling their High Commissioner in protest. If other African states could the same then South Africa will see the seriousness of the offence they committed. We also await to see these countries sending out South African Ambassadors back until they bring a satisfactory action plan to curb xenophobia. SA is where it is because of other African countries so if they do not appreciate that we cut of ties and see who suffers most. We as Zimbabweans have been inflicted with pain already so its not news.

Nhongo - 29 April 2015

ha ha ha! Should other African countries also recall their ambassadors because Nigeria is failing to control Boko Haram? xenophobia killed 7, how many were butchered by Boko Haram while Nigeria continues to pussyfoot about it? And lets talk about Murambatsvina...how many pple og Malawain, Mozambique, Zambian origin wrer affcted? hOW MANY WERE ALSO AFFCTED BY THE VIOLENT LAND REFORM? And why were there no shouts for recalling ambassadors? Us Zimbabweans want to behave like the world's last born. We are vindictive, evil and heartless.. yet we wnt to ctry the loused kana tabatwa! kure uko!

Ini Jimmy - 29 April 2015

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