Attacks on African Migrants

Dear ALA members and friends,

Following the reports of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and increased fatalities of African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, the Executive Council of the African Literature Association has issued the following statement on behalf of our Association:

The African Literature Association joins concerned individuals around the world and many other professional groups in strongly condemning the wave of violence against foreigners, the climate of fear, and the destruction of property that has been unleashed across South Africa during the month of April 2015. These unwarranted attacks are a blight on the reputation of a country held in high regard across the African continent and beyond. We urge the South African government to take all necessary steps for ensuring the safety of foreigners on South African soil and for rooting out the scourge of xenophobia without delay. As recent beneficiaries of the hospitality of our colleagues in South Africa during the ALA annual conference held exactly one year ago at the University of Witwatersrand, it is our hope that South Africa will find the strength to embody the ideals of freedoms and rights for which its population so bravely fought. The ALA also acknowledges the continent-wide and systemic nature of the triggers for these condemnable actions. There is, after all, a close relationship between the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and the drownings of over 1000 fleeing African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in the first quarter of 2015. Such are the challenges of life on the continent that many Africans willingly contemplate the choice between burning in the south and drowning in the north. Situations such as these lead us to wonder whether there are any governing authorities in Africa ready to take responsibility for the humanity and dignity of the African. We, therefore, respectfully call on the African Union (AU) to take immediate and effective action on both fronts.

Tejumola Olaniyan,
President, African Literature Association