It has been a terrible month for Kenya and a tough last week for South Africa. First the appalling massacre of 147 students at Garissa university saw many people across the continent joining in solidarity as Kenya grieved.
This last week Durban and Johannesburg have seen a return of xenophobic violence directed at foreign nationals, an echo of the cancerous historical, colonial policy that differentiated by tribe in order to divide and rule and which continues to flare up across Africa.
Some of the root causes of this violence against each other may change but one thing remains the same. Time and again it is the economic and environmental conditions that too many people are living in that fuel frustration, anger and intolerance.
To improve the lives of all us means intensifying the fighting for social justice and that can only be achieved by people from all communities joining arms in solidarity.
It means tackling poverty and hunger, providing access to water and electricity and creating jobs. As our climate changes with more floods, droughts and rising temperatures making some resources more scare, it also means backing solar and wind energy to safeguard our environment.
Many leaders have spoken about the spirit of African solidarity. Mozambique’s first post-independence president Samora Machel said:
“International solidarity is not an act of charity: It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective. The foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible.”
In South Africa people talk of of the spirit of ubuntu, that ‘we are who we are because of who we all are.’ It is perhaps a good light by which to see our way forward at this difficult moment.
Of course fighting for social justice is about more than posting to social media but adding our voices to the debate is important. Please join us and post a message saying no to violence and xenophobia at 350Africa’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
The 350Africa.org team