Jidenna Says ‘Xenophobic Attacks’ In South Africa Are ‘Direct Symptom of Apartheid,’ Other Nigerian Artists Speak Out

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As social media pours out with videos and photos purporting to show South Africans attacking and killing Nigerians, many performers from the latter country have spoken out and some are dropping out of performances in South Africa altogether.

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(From left) Burna Boy, Jidenna, Tiwa Savage. (Photos: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images for BET), Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE Fashion House, Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

In South Africa this week, truck drivers have launched a strike in protest against companies employing foreign drivers across the country, who some locals say are responsible for taking their jobs as the unemployment rate sits at 28 percent, the highest in 11 years, according to the BBC.

South Africans also began attacking foreign-owned shops in the wake of an incident in which an alleged Nigerian drug dealer killed a South African taxi driver last week. Seven people have been killed as a result of the violence, which has included incinerating foreign-owned cars. Mobs have looted and destroyed many foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg, South Africa, the county’s economic hub. Authorities say more than 420 arrests have been made, but officials have been hesitant to refer to the attacks as xenophobic. Meanwhile, Nigerians in Nigeria have retaliated by attacking South African businesses.

In response to the news, various Nigerian entertainers have spoken out against the incidents.

Singer Jidenna tweeted Sept. 3, “Just left Lagos this morning after speaking at a listening party about the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. This apartheid trauma is rampant, cancerous, and volatile. My heart is heavy. 🇿🇦🇳🇬 #SayNoToXenophobia.”

He added in another post, “These #xenophobicattacks and assaults on women in 🇿🇦 aren’t new. They‘re a direct symptom of apartheid & they‘ll only end once the attackers realize that women & Nigerians are not the enemy. Neo-colonialists made u feel castrated & worthless; tribalism & patriarchy are their guns.”

Meanwhile, famed Nigerian Afro-fusion singer Burna Boy posted a lengthy series of tweets explaining he won’t stick to his usual method of trying to calm things down online.

“Today After watching the Killing of my people in South Africa the same way we have all watched it happen a few times in the past. F–K ALL THAT! I personally have had my own xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans and because of that….. I have not set foot in SA since 2017. And I will NOT EVER go to South Africa again for any reason until the SOUTH AFRICAN government wakes the f–k up and really performs A miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this,” he tweeted Wednesday.

He went on to clarify he does not advocate for violence but implored “my Brothers and sisters” to ” please PLEASE Protect and Defend yourselves at all times.”

Also not planning to set foot in South Africa is Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage, who said she won’t perform at the DStv Delicious International Food & Music Festival Sept. 21 because of the “barbaric butchering of my people in SA.”

“This is SICK…. My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this,” the “All Over” singer tweeted Thursday.

Dstv tweeted in support of the star’s stance saying in part, “as a company, we advocate equality and embrace inclusivity and diversity.”

By Thursday, South Africa temporarily closed its embassies in Nigeria out of fears for revenge attacks, CNN reported.

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