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Xenophobia: Yeni Kuti condemns attacks, urges African unity

Yeni Kuti, the eldest daughter of the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has condemned the xenophobic attacks being unleashed on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa, describing them as disheartening and saddening.

Yeni Kuti. Photo: Ayodele Efunla
Yeni Kuti. Photo: Ayodele Efunla

Speaking with PM News, the journalist and dancer accused African leaders of creating disunity among themselves ‘when they should be fighting for Africa’s unity’.

“I think it’s very sad that black people are fighting black people. It pains my heart that black people will fight themselves and be so misinformed and call themselves foreigners,” she said.

Speaking on reactions from both South African and Nigerian governments on the matter, “I remember when they interviewed the South African President on the issue of xenophobia, he seems so lackadaisical about it and our own President did not jerk him up. It was after people started rioting before our own President reacted, this thing has been happening for a long time. Now people have decided to take the matter into their own hands by rioting which I don’t think is the solution but it got a reaction from the government.”

“South Africa government is sleeping, Nigeria government is sleeping. I have been getting reports that Nigerians do drugs in South Africa.If that is the case, go and catch them. Are your police sleeping? It’s not all Nigerians that are doing drugs in South Africa, it’s not all Nigerians that are doing illegal things all over the world. But when they’re doing an illegal thing, that’s the one you will see, what about the positive ones? There are positive ones too,” she added.

Yeni Kuti. Photo: Ayodele Efunla
Yeni Kuti. Photo: Ayodele Efunla

“Africa should be one country with different states where anybody can move from Point A to Point B. I believe that we should be able to walk around as Africans to every nook and cranny of Africa without visas. I don’t believe I should need a visa to visit South Africa and I don’t believe a South African should need a visa to come to Nigeria.”

“It’s Africa’s disunity that these our leaders are promoting, they need to come together.”

“It’s Africa’s unity we should be fighting for but now they are removing envoy. South Africa today said they have closed their embassies. What is happening? Why is Africa dividing instead of uniting? The ‘Oyinbo’ will just be laughing at us.”

“I remember in 1984 when they did “Ghana Must Go” in Nigeria and Ghanaians who have been here for many years, they made them leave, now we are the ones going to Ghana and Ghana is also saying you too should leave.”

Yeni however, called on the Nigerian government to make the country better so that any Nigerian leaving the country will only leave by choice.

“Why can’t our government make our country conducive enough so that we don’t have to travel anywhere. We travel only by choice. But people are making the choice to travel because of economic reasons because your own country cannot provide for you.”

“They said they’re providing plane if you want to come back. What should they come and do, to be a nuisance? Nigerians have been killing themselves to get to Europe through Libya and they entered all kinds of atrocities when they get to Libya, they rape them, they enslave them because our government, not just Nigerian government but African governments are not making their countries conducive for people to want to stay and not move about.”

Yeni called on African leaders to re-orientate their citizens that we are one. She also urged Nigerians to be good ambassadors of the country outside the country.

“I think African governments should come together and work as one, they need to re-orientate these people that we are brothers.

“I must also say this, every Nigerian should realize he or she is an ambassador of Nigeria once you step outside the soil, we should always comport ourselves. Don’t wait for ambassador to be painted on your chest. As you step outside the soil of Nigeria, you’re an ambassador because they will judge you with whatever you do so make sure you promote your country in a positive light,” she said.

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