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West wind blow ye gentle, Over the sores of Africa

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Professor Dr Omphemetse S Sibanda is a Professor of Law and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law at the University of Limpopo. He holds a Doctor of Laws (in International Economic Law) from North West University, a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Centre, US; and an LLB (Hon) and B Juris from the then Vista University, Soweto Campus.

The inhumanity that is visited primarily upon foreign nationals through the unabated and escalating acts of violence and displacement will never breed peace and humanity for anyone in South Africa.

What a week! Unfortunately, I am experiencing writer’s block because of the brain trauma caused by events this week. It is at this time that I am in debt to what has been said by our forebears, starting with the titles of some of the writings of Nigerian novelist and writer Chinua Achebe, to explain this past week. This week of criminality and xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans and foreign-owned businesses, including those of South Africans employing foreign nationals in the trucking industry.

My reaction was immediately that now Things Fall Apart and clearly South Africa and the rest of the African continent is No Longer At Ease. There is no level of argumentation that can absolve anyone from the inhumane acts perpetrated against foreign nationals in South Africa.

The inhumanity that is visited primarily upon foreign nationals through the unabated and escalating acts of violence and displacement will never breed peace and humanity for anyone in South Africa. We are in the eye of the heat storm and only time will tell when the meltdown will occur.

A dangerous trend has emerged, with a heavy price, even for South Africans. It is economically, politically, legally, morally – and from a governance point of view – impermissible to allow the killing and ill-treatment of foreign nationals to continue.

As Africans, we are known to sing in times of happiness, in times of grief and in times of strife.

Allow me to use with great admiration the lyrics to West Wind – a timeless song sung by the late Miriam Makeba – to appeal to South Africa to remember that we are all brothers and sisters:

West wind blow ye gentle

Over the sores of Africa

My sons proud and noble

Here within my heart they lay

West wind with your wisdom

Gather all the young for me

Dark cloud hanging over

Nest that bosom strong and free

Make us free from exploitation and strife

Cause nothing is, is more precious in life

West wind with your splendour

Take my people by the hand

Spread your glory sunshine

Unify mother Africa

Unify my precious land

Unify us don’t divide us unify us don’t divide us

We don’t need it now lord, let us not fight over trivials

Let us learn how to love ourselves first because unification is the thing

I said unification is the thing

Unify us don’t divide us unify us don’t divide us

Do you hear me my friends? Do you hear me my brothers?

Do you hear me my sisters? Do you hear me mama?

Do you hear me God? Do you hear me everybody?

Unify us oh don’t divide us, don’t divide us unify us

We’re tired of poverty, we’re tired of dying

We don’t wanna die, we don’t wanna be poor

We’re tired, unify us

Unify us don’t divide us don’t divide us unify us

Unify us don’t divide us don’t divide us unify us

Unify us don’t divide us don’t divide us unify us,

Don’t divide us unify us

DON’T DIVIDE US! DM

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