“Our country is going down”.
These are the words of Sunday Times photographer Simphiwe Nkwali whose image of a foreign man being burned alive has been included into a harrowing photo journal entitled Flames of Hate.
Our country is at a crisis point and still the army has not been brought in to calm the violence. The police force has been outgunned in many of the informal settlements where the xenophobic attacks have taken place.
Over 20 people have been brutally killed in a week of xenophobic attacks, where not only foreign Africans, but local South Africans in minority tribes, have been targeted.
These scenes remind me of Rwanda 1994. Not to the scale, and of course this violence is not sanctioned by the state, but as far as intent of the aggressors is concerned, its goringly close.
Simphiwe Nkwali is calling on President Mbeki to declare a state of emergency and to deal with the thugs with the full force of the law. I can imagine the President's response..."Crisis? What crisis?" When you combine that attitude with the ANC President Jacob Zuma's irresponsible chanting of "umShini wami", (which means, "bring me my machine gun") you begin to understand why so many South African's are bemoaning a lack of leadership in this country.
Hopefully both presidents will stand up and prove us wrong.
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|An ironic photo. Emphasis on Rwanda is mine.|