The world's attention has been on Africa, but more specifically on South Africa as the country has been seeing violent xenophobic scenes where people from across the continent have been victims of violence and deaths.
Government and media and indeed many other South Africans have been spreading messages of #NoToXenophobia. Sam Cowen, who herself was not born in South Africa spoke about being raised in an apartheid South Africa where white people enjoyed certain privileges. Sam spoke about the love and comfort she enjoyed from South Africans ever since she and her family relocated here when she was young girl.
Kojo Baffoe - Former editor of Destiny Man and poet with Ghanaian roots.
Sam Cowen invited another non-South African, Kojo Baffoe who has German and Ghanaian origins but has lived and studied in South Africa and Lesotho. Kojo is a poet and a media personality who also has a few magazines in his belt as a former editor of Blaque and Destiny Man to name a few. He has also worked for the Post Office and has dabbled in radio.
Kojo Baffoe spoke about how it's always awkward when he has conversations about South Africa and have people remind him that he's not from here, as if he can't have an opinion about the community he's lived within for many years and the only place he can truly call home because he's spent most of his life in. Answering the issue of whether South Africans take things for granted hence people who are not from here push harder, Kojo says it's a layered issue and that his view on the subject has changed since the start of the xenophobic attacks.
Kojo has a South African wife and his children were born here, he loves the country not only because of those reasons but because it has been his home proudly for many years. He says it's important that his children grow up knowing their origins and that they are first, Africans. For more of the #ImAForeigner chat between Sam and Kojo, listen here...
Akin Omotoso - Born in Nigeria, film maker/Director & actor/voice over artist.
You may remember the vodacom advert featuring two (not so young) men, a white balding one and a black, more reserved and seemingly smarter one. These are Michael De Pinna and Prof Kole Omotoso (below). Why this "connection"? Well the seemingly smarter one was once professor of English at the University of the Western Cape and a professor in the Drama Department at Stellenbosch University, but more relevant to this subject, has a son called Akin. Akin has been in South Africa since 1992 when his parents relocated to South Africa after his dad got a job here. He shared his joy and respect and the love he's received from South Africans.
Akin Omotoso (below) has acted in some of this country's top productions like Generations and known for films like Blood Diamond, Lord of War and his voice can be heard on many TV adverts and films. He upgraded himself to producer with the TOM Pictures team and did films like Man On Ground, which was about the 2008 xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and seven years later the topic comes up again.
Talking about his film Man On Ground, which took about three years to make Akin says it was important for them as film makers not only to make an entertaining product but touch on some kind of activism, and this birthed a project called "Tell them we're from here". Touching on the recent xenophobic attacks, Akin says the issue is not necessarily trying to find out what is wrong or what the problem is because that is very clear, the main objective should be what do we do now and what is the solution? Listen to Akin Omotoso's chat with Sam Cowen below...
Lee Kasumba. Ugandan, media personality and heading up Channel O Africa.
Leslie "Lee" Kasumba was born in Uganda and has Cuban roots, but even she would struggle to commit to one country as her home because travelling has always been a part of her life and being a wanderlust is one of many gifts Lee got from her parents. But she mentions South Africa as a country she shares a great love with and that it has defined her life, to a large extent. Lee was one of the many vibrant and driven radio presenters at Yfm many years ago and has never looked back since.
An African through and through, Lee says she has been reminded more than once that she was a foreigner in South Africa and this is part of why she was part of a documentary tilted "Not In My Lifetime" in collaboration with South African rapper Slikour from the group Skwatta Kamp, aimed at raising awareness no xenophobia.
The first scenes of xenophobic violence in 2008 scared Lee a lot but she says the recent ones are even worse and something no one can ignore, or should ignore. She says that history has taught us that things can go very wrong very fast and she was always on edge but drew a lot of encouragement from how the media and many other regular South Africans stood up against xenophobia and the killings of other Africans.
Lee Kasumba believes that as much as many Africans stood up against xenophobic attacks, if it were in European countries she feels that the leaders there could have stood up and seriously condemned it and made sure it never resurfaces. She says she doesn't feel that African leaders did what they are capable of and what is expected by their African citizens because xenophobia is not a South African issue but an issue that affects the entire continent. Lee feels that #Xenophobia is more than just a hashtag.
To listen to the conversation between Sam and Lee, click below..
Joe Crann, soccer journalist from England.
Joe Crann came to South Africa a few years ago to cover The World Cup and the magic of South Africa caught him and he never left! He was working for Laduma and they offered him a full time job and even though Phillip left, Joe decided to stay and hasn't looked back ever since. He says the one thing that really made him fall in love with the country was the people and their incredibly friendly nature. Many other non-South Africans came to South Africa as children and because family relocated but Crann is no ordinary Joe! He came to South Africa in 2006 and made a return trip in 2010 to cover the World Cup and safe to say, he scored himself a new home! He's from Sheffield in the UK and says he's always been around foreigners in his life and also because he loves travelling he enjoys meeting new people. Joe fell in love with Cape Town but later on realized the Jozi magic. He spoke to Sam Cowen about some of the conversations he's had with people from different walks of life in South Africa.
Joe Crann spoke about the sadness of xenophobic violence and that even his family in the UK would call often worried about him regarding what's happening in South Africa, but says that even though people usually tell him that South Africa is a bad country, he says it would be small minded to think one country in the world is bad. He mentions that he could name a few places any continent in the world where there's violence and things aren't as great as they potentially could be, but no matter what reports are out in the news he has seen the beauty of South Africa and that's why he's still here.
Joe Crann highlights the issue of immigration and how it's a spread out issue and not a South African problem, but mentions that violence is never a way to a solution but he hopes people would stop pointing a finger at South Africa as if that's the only place in the world that's struggling with migration. Joe expressed his excitement when he watches the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and that the 2010 World Cup was indeed world class.
"I don't think there's another derby like that in the world! I think that's incredible and the World Cup in South Africa has to be rated highly. It was my first one and after that magic, I swore to never miss a World Cup again in my life and that's South Africa's fault.— Joe Crann, sports journalist from England.
For the entire chat between Sam Cowen and Joe Crann, listen below..