Leaders lend weight to Durban peace march

Durban - One of Jacob Zuma’s wives, political bigwigs, artists and academics added their weight to a “peace march” against xenophobia about to get under way in Durban on Thursday.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and State Security Minister David Mahlobo arrived at Curries Fountain stadium where hundreds of people had gathered for the march.

The event followed violence that began in townships around Durban last week and has since spread to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg. At least five people have been killed and scores injured.

Mahlobo’s white T-shirt, which he had pulled over his long-sleeved blue collared shirt, was stretched to breaking point, the words “say no to xenophobia” arching across his stomach.

Religious leaders welcomed the crowd and began praying for a safe march. They held boards with the words “we are all created in God’s image” and “let us share God’s resources”.

Professor Ahmed Bawa, vice-chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, said: "I think that it's important that Durban is holding this march, but I hope that it's not just a march, but the beginning of a long engagement that South Africa has to deal with.”

Jazz musician Simphiwe Dana had a board around her neck with the words “#WeAreAfrica Phansi nge Xenophobia”.

First Lady Tobeka Madiba Zuma and African National Congress treasurer general Zweli Mkhize were there too.

Author Khaya Dlanga said: "It’s absolutely great to see all these people that have come out on a work day to show support against xenophobia."

Shaka Sisulu said he was excited to be in Durban.

“I can feel the energy of the Durban people, who say that the violence is not representative of the South African people today."

Amanda Khoza & Thomas Hartleb, News24

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