African press review 22 April 2015

The South African press decries the rainbow nation's moment of shame as civil society leaders rally to repair the ravages of xenophobic attacks on foreigners. They also offer tributes to John "Shoes" Moshoeu, the colossus of post-apartheid South African football who died on Tuesday after a long bout with cancer.


The press takes up the South African government’s deployment of troops to quell xenophobic violence and attacks on the police.

Mail and Guardian publishes “striking images” of violence in the flashpoint Johannesburg district of Jeppestown and the thousands of immigrants who have sought refuge in camps. In an editorial entitled “our nation’s ugliest moment", the paper wonders how South Africans can make sense of the terrible violence being committed against other Africans. According to the publication, it has been gut-wrenching, horrible and almost too much to comprehend, leaving the impression that a pall has descended over the nation.

Daily News in Durban posts a video of two South African women “caught in the middle of their xenophobic rant”. One was quoted as saying: “We vote and pay water for these dogs”. Another compared foreigners in her community with “a piece of horse shit on the floor”.

Other press reports blame the Zulu tribal leader King Goodwill Zweelithini for sparking the latest flare-up of violence with his comments that foreigners should go home.

Pretoria News spotlights migrants living under the shadow of death. The publication quotes prominent foreign nationals in the capital who say that the violence has pushed South Africa up into the ranks similar to war-torn countries like Syria and South Sudan.

City Press on its part reports that traditional leaders have vowed to mobilise their communities to be on the alert for any incitement of xenophobic attacks in their areas and spread the message of peace.

The Johannesburg Star says the city has opened a helpline for people affected by xenophobic attacks, so that they can access immediate help from a joint operation centre. Johannesburg's executive mayor, Parks Tau, tells the paper that by dialling *134*422#, people in distress can get hold of the city’s operations centre to report any attacks, looting or violence and get an immediate response.

According to the Star, the hotline set up in partnership with the Vodacom provider will also enable targeted persons to make calls to their families to the value of R10 (less than 0.77 euro) per minute.

Several Jo’burg media outlets are reporting plans by the city in collaboration with various civic organisations to hold a number of events this week as part of an anti-violence campaign. That will culminate in a musical concert on Saturday and a walk on Sunday at Constitution Hill.

The South African papers pay tribute to Bafana Bafana’s legendary midfielder John Lesiba “Shoes” Moshoeu, who died in a Johannesburg hospital Tuesday after a long bout with cancer. He was 49. “A giant has fallen, nation mourns the death of soccer legend”, headlined the Sowetan.

Several other papers are in a chorus recalling the master dribbler’s key role in Bafana Bafana’s home triumph in the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations in front of President Nelson Mandela.

When it comes to football in South Africa, the word “legend” is often tossed around far too easily. But, rest assured, John "Shoes" Moshoeu was one, writes Cape Times in its own testimony. The City Press notes that the personal life of the legendary Moshoeu was never really in the spotlight after he hung boots.

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