Bafana to play in international friendlies to fight xenophobia

The national team will play two friendlies in a bid to sensitise the public on the evils of xenophobia.

FILE. Bafana Bafana’s clash with Senegal on 23 January 2015 in their second Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign. Picture: Twitter via @BafanaBafana.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Football Association (Safa) has announced it will play two international friendly matches against neighbouring countries in a bid to sensitise the public on the evils of xenophobia.

Safa says the attacks have badly dented South Africa's image.

The spate of attacks has plagued South Africa in recent days, starting in KwaZulu-Natal, and spreading to Johannesburg and its surrounding townships.

President Jacob Zuma cancelled his trip to Indonesia at the last minute yesterday, to speak to thousands of displaced foreign nationals in Durban.

WATCH: Zuma addresses displaced foreign nationals

The violence has claimed the lives of six people in Durban alone.


At the same time, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has told Eyewitness News xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have ruined South Africa's relations with the rest of the continent, and its reputation as a humanitarian country in the international community.

The minister yesterday observed living conditions in the Chatsworth displacement camp in Durban where the tents are overcrowded with little privacy for women, and bathrooms have been flooded, leading to many of the people demanding to go back to their countries.

WATCH: Inside Durban's refugee camp

A furious Gigaba says the latest wave of attacks on African immigrants in the country has undone much of the hard work by government to establish relationships across the continent.

"It has ruined our relations with the rest of the continent, it's ruined our relationship with the immigrants that are living in South Africa and it's something that we're very concerned about."

He says the fact that African immigrants are being targeted has made the situation worse.

"We cannot be the country to which they run when they're under attack in their countries, and when they get here, we cause them to run even further. What you are seeing is a targeted attack on African immigrants exclusively, something which ruins our reputation as a humanitarian country based on human rights."

The Home Affairs Department has been helping the people in the camps get back to their countries and has admitted that many of them do not have any paperwork.

What are the effects of xenophobia on foreign nationals?

LISTEN: Clinical Psychologist Thabang Tlaka speaks on the psychological & emotional effects of xenophobia on foreign nationals & their children.


In Johannesburg, over 2,000 displaced foreigners are still at two refugee camps in Primrose Germiston, fearing to return to their homes.

The Ekurhuleni Municipality says they're providing food, sanitation and medical care for the foreigners in the camp.

City manager Khaya Ngema says they're looking for long term solutions.

"We know that some of the flashpoints are around the issue of traders. As a city we're looking at intervention. We don't think the level of general communities is hatred and the failure to live together."

WATCH: Foreigners: We want to go home