Tackling Xenophobia amongst Africans

A UN sponsored award ceremony for films that address migration issues will be held in New York this week. A film will particularly be rewarded as it sensitizes on xenophobia (i.e hatred towards foreigners), which exists between Africans.

The short film is titled,“We are Human”. It was directed by an activist called Sophie Kanza. Her foundation fights against xenophobia between Africans, by making young South Africans and young Africans from the diaspora work together so as to get to know each other better.

Sophie is from the DRC but emigrated to South Africa several years ago with her parents. She had suffered from discrimination mostly from black South Africans.

According to her, it takes two solutions to combat xenophobia: Education and travel.

Sophie joined us online on today’s culture segment.

Still within the subject matter,we move onto photography with a pan-African artistic initiative called Invisible Borders.

This association brings artists together from all over the continent. Since 2009, they have been organizing trips for these artists in several African cities (Lagos, Yaoundé, Addis Ababa, Bamako, etc.).

The goal is to put an end to the misconceptions that exist among Africans and through art, allow exchange of ideas between different people on the continent .

This group made a trip to the capital of Gabon; Libreville. One of the participants is a Nigerian photographer Jide Odukoya, he made a series of portraits called Nigerians in Libreville.”

He went to meet Nigerians in Libreville to know more about their livelihood as African migrants in an African country. Some of them fled the Biafra War from 1967 to 1970 to seek refuge in Gabon where they settled and had families. They are traders in the market, taxi drivers, students, etc.But they are still faced with xenophobia till date..

The series of portraits highlighting the problem of African migrants on African soil make us realise that Africans live on the same continent but ultimately do not know each other that much. And unfortunately this ignorance sometimes leads to xenophobia. And this is a subject that is almost never addressed by our respective governments.

But it is hoped that with the abolition of visas, awareness campaigns on the subject will be created.

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