A pamphlet circulating in Mamelodi, South Africa, calling for a march against foreign nationals has triggered fears of a new outbreak of xenophobic violence.
The circular, signed by “Mamelodi concerned residence” and calling for a march in February, has also had a share of rounds on social media
“We have to start packing our bags. We can’t risk it. This time around they may not leave any of us alive. Why do they hate us so much? Is South Africa the first country to have immigrants? We are all Africans. We need each other as Africans,” said Mebo, a Zimbabwean immigrant living in Mamelodi.
Despite the fear and tension that the circular has created, Oupa Mtshweni, whose name appears on the circular, maintains that the demonstration would be peaceful.
“We are not planning to be violent,” he told GroundUp. “I don’t see why this should be a problem to anyone. This has nothing to do with xenophobia.”
However, immigrants living in Pretoria are still not convinced that this time round it will be any different and are circulating warnings to each other on social media. Family members outside South Africa are also warning their relatives to be careful.
“I received a warning message from my mother who resides in the UK. She is worried and even encouraged me to go and suffer back home rather than die here in South Africa,” said Monalisa, a Nigerian hair salon owner.
According to Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, the matter had not been reported to the SAPS but promised that investigations into the matter will begin.