Foreign shop owners grateful for efforts to end xenophobic attacks

Thousands of people marched in JHB to take a stand against the recent spate of xenophobic attacks.

The march against xenophobia attacks ended at the Mary Fitzgerald Square on 23 April 2015, with many people holding signs that call for peace and an end to the attacks. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of foreign shop owners in Hillbrow have thanked South Africans for marching for an end to xenophobia, saying it illustrated the Africa they know and love.

Thousands of people marched from Pieter Roos Park to Mary Fitzgerald Square in a stand against the recent spate of xenophobic attacks that have left at least seven people dead, and thousands displaced.

#NoToXenophobia A group of foreign shop owners are standing on the side of the road saying "thank you thank you" EC

#NoToXenophobia The view from the font. EC

#NoToXenophobia Marchers are slowly making their way up Empire road with a heavy police presence singing. EC

One Malawian man says his family was deeply affected by the xenophobia after his brother was attacked.

"The government has been talking, promising, but action has never been taken. But this is the reaction we were expecting, thank you very much."

He says he was hurt that his brothers were attacked after all the help South Africa has been given.

Another foreign shop owner could be seen closing his store as the crowd went past without giving any explanation.

One South African man then shouted "don't close your shop, we love you".

As the march made its way through the streets of Hillbrow, in a show of unity against xenophobia, community members came out of their homes and shops to cheer on the locals and foreigners who are taking part in it.

#NoToXenophobia More onlookers screaming in support from their balcony. EC

#NoToXenophobia School children have come out of class to share their support. EC

Songs of unity were being played on loud speakers on the back of a truck that led thousands.

Women, children and business owners lined the streets in Hillbrow to cheer on the crowd.

One foreigner held up a banner that read 'don't slaughter us like chickens', as the rest of the crowd behind him continued to cheer 'we are one'.

#Xenophobia "Don't slaughter us like chickens" GN

The 4km March ended at the Square in Newtown.

Meanwhile, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the latest world figure to condemn the wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Ki-moon has sent his condolences to the families of the victims and has taken note of the deployment of the defence force in xenophobic hotspots.

The UN chief has also welcomed the public expressions of the many South Africans calling for peaceful co-existence.