Wits join xenophobia fight

2011-07-07 18:29
Bidvest Wits (File)

Johannesburg - South African Premiership soccer team Bidvest Wits will play Costa do Sol from Mozambique as part of the Action Against Xenophobia festival at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton on July 31.

The organisers of the event, the Tsietsi Mashinini Trust and the City of Ekurhuleni, said on Thursday that a religious cleansing ceremony would be held at the Cyril Ramaphosa settlement in the East Rand a week before the match.

The ceremony would be held on the site where Mozambican migrant Ernesto Nhamuave was set alight and killed during the South African xenophobic attacks in 2008. More than 60 people, both foreigners and citizens, were killed during the countrywide outrage in May that year.

Mashinini was the leader of the 1976 student uprising in Soweto and died while in exile in 1990.

His brother, Dan Mashinini, who founded the trust, said they had opted to host a soccer match because they viewed sport as the best platform to fight racism, gender and ethnic challenges.

"I need to first say that I too was in exile for 14 years with thousands of my peers based in other African countries so I totally do not condone the xenophobic acts in South Africa," said Mashinini.

Wits general manager George Mogotsi said they were honoured to be playing a part in the event.

"When the Mashinini Trust approached us, I told my coach (Roger de Sa, born in Mozambique) that this would be for a great cause," said Mogotsi.

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