My name is Godel Sefu.
Originally from the DR Congo, I have been living in South Africa for 14 years. I faced xenophobia 4 times. And on a wheelchair, I got almost burned alive in May 2008 as I couldn’t help myself to flee from a building that was targeted by young South Africans using petrol bombs. I got saved by the police.
Unfortunately this phenomenon is not getting to an end. People are still being beaten, burned alive and killed. Many are losing businesses they have hardly build in so many years. Many more are losing their new homes and get to live on the streets...
We are conscious that the government and many organizations have tried to help unsuccessfully. Sustainable solutions are being proposed but not put into action. The concerned groups keep being side-lined in the efforts to design responsive actions against the problem.
It is enough of suffering. Enough of fears of our own brothers and sisters. We believe it’s time to engage as victims of xenophobia into finding solutions - non-violent solutions.
Both foreigners ourselves and those involved in xenophobic violence are just victims. And on this South African side, people are mostly victims of lack of information of the causing situations and the history behind the situations.
Our different stories need to be told.
I want to create spaces (circles of men and women) where we can sit together. Where we can hear each other. Where we can learn to be compassionate towards each other.
I want to create spaces where we can meet heart to heart, South Africans and foreigners, after listening our different stories.
People need to know who the foreigners are. Why we are in South Africa today. What we have gone through on our journeys to this far from our countries. And what we are facing on a daily basis… We also need to learn the story of South Africans.
I don’t need to start with big cloud of people nor with millions in the bank. I want to start this small but I need the support of women and men of heart around the world. And I want to be posting on Facebook all updates of activities as they will be taking place.
I want to start going into schools. From a school to another. Then from a community to another telling them my own story and the stories of volunteers ready to join me, the youth from both the foreign national and the South African communities.
I want to gain hearts and reach that human place where love and compassion live for ever. This might be all we need to defeat xenophobia...
Thanks for a hand of support to this mission.
Much love and blessings,
Johannesburg, South Africa