Nigerian Entertainers Rise with One Voice against Xenophobia

Vanessa Obioha

Since the news of the violent xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa reverberated in the country, Nigerian entertainers have voiced their anger with protests on social media and boycotts. From 2Baba to Fidelis Duker, the creative industry is showing a united front in condemning the barbaric actions by South Africans on Nigeria.

2Baba in a series of tweets and Instagram posts condemned the violence, calling for re-education of the African history to free them from mental slavery. He didn’t spare the president and lawmakers, demanding they take actions instead of carrying out politics as usual.

“This is becoming too shameful. How can we have no dignity in our polity?” part of the tweet reads.

Duker, the founder of the Abuja International Film Festival announced through a press statement the suspension of South African film entries in the upcoming festival slated for October 22 to 25, 2019.

“We as an International Film Festival condemn unequivocally the reoccurring xenophobic attacks against African migrants including

Nigerians in South Africa. We have observed the global outcry especially by Nigerians all over the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa. However, we have taken this painful and avoidable decision to suspend entries submitted by filmmakers from the Republic of South Africa until further notice.”

The body said it strongly “condemn hate, prejudice and xenophobia actions of some South African nationals and reiterate our

unequivocal condemnation of all violence in any form.”

As a platform that was created to promote mutual harmony, respect for the dignity of life, Duker in his statement said that they will continue to advocate for a society where everyone’s rights and freedoms are respected.

Burna whose social media pages are handled by his management took to Twitter personally to express his displeasure over the killings. He revealed that he had personally experienced xenophobia and thus, had not set foot in the country since 2017. Burna bluntly said he had no intention to visit the country again until the South African government wakes the (expletive) up and really performs a miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this,” one of his tweets reads.

Another of his tweets read “This goes against everything I stand for, but at what point do we take action? I understand that years of oppression has confused South Africans to the point where they see the people who came to their defence during their oppression as their enemies and then they worship their oppressors.”

The tweet saw Nollywood actress Stella Damascus condemning the actions of Nigerians looting South African businesses in the country. While she blamed the xenophobic attacks on mental slavery and misplaced anger, she advised Nigerians to take their anger to the South African Embassy in Nigeria.

But the tweet that grabbed headlines was the one where he called out South African rapper AKA, threatening to deal with him next time their paths crossed.

“And @akaworldwide I knew you was retarded but I didn’t know it had gotten this bad.

Next time I see you you better have a big security bro,On Gambos Grave ur gunna need it.”

Aka has been attacked by some Nigerians on social media over several tweets which he claimed was over a football game in the last African Cup of Nations. He had written that he hated losing to Nigeria. Nigerians had interpreted the remark as xenophobic and threatened to deal with musician next time he stepped into the country. He was particularly called out by Nigerian musician YCee in a tweet.

“There is this subtle dislike that a lot of them (If not all) feel towards Nigerians and no matter how hard they try to hide it .. it eventually jumps out – like when AKA had a full childish grown man tantrum when they lost to Nigeria in the nations cup,” he tweeted.

Aka replied him, tweeting that there will always be sibling rivalry between the countries, and called the narrative a stupid one because it was clearly an innocuous remark about a football match.

While African rapper No.1 M.I defended Aka, he got a stern warning from Burna who promised to diss him too if he keeps his loyalty with the South African rapper.

Starboy Wizkid in a series of tweets expressed his disappointment over the rants of some celebrities. He admonished them for spreading hate instead of love and encouraged them to fight the government, poverty and education.

Davido opined in a tweet that if Nigeria was a good place, that Nigerians will have no reason to travel to South Africa.

Singer Asa also tweeted her concern on the attacks. “Isn’t it a pity, isn’t it a shame we break each other’s hearts, and how we take each other’s love without thinking anymore. Forgetting to give back, forgetting to remember. We are not the enemy.”

She ended her tweet with the trending hashtags #SayNoToXenophobia, #SayNoToXenoohobic Attacks.

Former Big Brother Naija star, Ifu Ennada also joined the protest. She tasked organisers of the ongoing reality show on Insta Stories to either have the housemates do a task showing the evils of xenophobia or take a 24-hour break to show solidarity with Nigerians.

Tiwa Savage who was scheduled to perform in South Africa also took to Twitter to vent her anger. In her tweet, the ‘All Over’ crooner said she was sick of “watching the barbaric butchering of my people in SA. This is sick.”

She went on to disclose that “For this reason, I will not be performing at the upcoming DStv Delicious Festival in Johannesburg on the 21st of September.”

“My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this,” she concluded.

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