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“No One Left to Speak for Me” – Fred Khumalo Highlights the Danger of Silence During Xenophobia

Zulu Boy Gone CrazyFred Khumalo, author of Zulu Boy Gone Crazy: Hilarious Tales Post Polokwane, has written an article about the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Khumalo says if South Africans keep quiet as foreigners are attacked, “we are only making the ground fertile for the germination of other chauvinistic tendencies”.

He refers to the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller on the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis during World War II, and says they are worth remembering today:

He said: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

When the new wave of xenophobic attacks took place in Soweto a month ago — new because the first real wave dates back to 2008 — many looked the other way, and dismissed it as “something that will pass”.

It did not. Like all good viruses, it restlessly moved around the country, looking for a place it could get traction. It finally settled for KwaZulu-Natal.

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