As a step to reforming the mindset of Nigerians and Africa at large over the recent Xenophobic attack that occurred last two weekends in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Creative African Exchange (CAX), held a forum yesterday the 11th of September, with a sole purpose of reshaping the mindsets of Africans and proffering solutions as to how African countries can relate better and foster the growth of each one through a unified disposition.
The theme of the forum was ‘Addressing Xenophobia & Gender Violence’, it was held at the African Artists’ Foundation, Victoria Island Lagos. The guest mentors were Director of Operations and Strategy for CAX, Iyke Oguegbuli, CEO of Sarah Wahab communication, Sarah Wahab, Co-founder West of IV, Nnenna Ayugo, and Nollywood actor, Enyinna Nwingwe.
Speaking on Xenophobia in South Africa, especially the most recent attack which affected a lot of Nigerians and Nigerian owned businesses in Johannesburg, the Director of Operations and Strategy for CAX, Iyke Oguegbuli said that it wasn’t an issue of South Africa Vs Nigeria but it posed a huge impact on the African continent.
He said “Africa is at a place where we are trying to unite ourselves into the ‘United States of Africa’, the last thing we need is anything that can stir up a rivalry. If it’s not managed well, it could become a bigger issue.”
Oguegbuli described the mayhem executed by South Africans as ‘misplaced aggression’ because both countries (Nigeria and South Africa) need each other, “This is not us vs them, but all continents moving forward,” he said.
Responding to the attack by Nigerians on South African businesses in Nigeria like Shoprite outlets and MTN offices, CAX’s Director of Operations and Strategy, said that the invasion was a mistargeted reaction especially owing to the fact that more than half of the workers in the affected companies are Nigerians.
According to him, the situation could have been properly managed if Nigerians prevented daily commercial activities from going on rather than destroy properties. “Attacking and looting is a criminal act. When people died it South Africa, it was mostly Nigerians, when people died in Lagos who died? Nigerians… it just showed the protesters had no clue of what they were doing.” He added.
The founder of Sarah Wahab’s communication, Sarah Wahab, in reacting to the xenophobic attack said that rather than focusing on the differences of both countries, the solution should be on the radar.
She advised that both countries spread love not propaganda. “We are too fast as people to spread content images that are shocking and upsetting without verifying facts, there is a lack of wisdom being applied to this situation”.
“The person to person reaction should create a change. we can’t expect our leaders to bring the change, it starts from individuals, it starts from one person.”
“We need to ask ourselves, are our reactions appropriate? are our reactions based on truth or based on manipulations by the media or by leaders that are not seen?”.
Wahab blamed the media for being fond of disseminating propaganda to earn likes and clouts for their publications. She also mentioned that even some companies were guilty too because of their greed to make money and gain more exposure for themselves.
She further advised that Nigerians learned to encourage one another and desist from acting violently. “Don’t be too hasty to react as there are always two sides to the news stories we hear”. She added.
Speaking, the Co-founder West of IV, Nnenna Ayugo, attested that it has been a web of mixed emotions when asked her opinion about the non-attacking South Africans who watched on the sidelines during the xenophobic attack.
Ayugo said that there were two sides to the feelings, some were saddened by the attack, while some couldn’t fathom why Nigerians reside in their country(South Africa).
She attributed the cause to be a huge misunderstanding and a lack of knowledge.
According to her, the lack of empathy and lack of value for human lives stems from a lack of love for one’s self. “If you love yourself, truly the love for someone else would overflow”.
The Co-founder of West of IV said that the feeling of ‘survival of the fittest’ had replaced the ‘abundance mindset’, that is why lately there has been a lot of killings without remorse.
Renowned Nollywood actor, Enyinna Nwingwe, popularly known for starring in ‘The Wedding Party’ said that it was important especially for creatives to indulge in this kind of conversation because “we are the shapers and shifters of perception of the masses, and we are the ones that hold the media”.
He beckoned on creatives to keep fueling the masses on the importance of peace and the need for African Countries to be unified despite their individual differences and struggles.
The Creative African Exchange (CAX) is a forum and consolidated marketplace for the creative and cultural industry.
Anticipate CAX weekend which is scheduled to hold in Rwanda, from the 12th-15th of December 2019. CAX weekend is Africa’s event for all people of African descent and global citizens that love African creativity and culture. It brings together identified assets, resources within the creative industries eco-system on the continent and diaspora, enabled by cutting edge technology to consolidate impactful business exchange for African creative and cultural economy.
CAX Dissects Xenophobia: Proffer Solutions to Uniting African Countries.