With various initiatives underway among civil society to demonstrate and give real support to those affected and displaced by xenophobia in South Africa, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr business law firm has said its employees will take part in the Corporate Walk and Gathering, under the auspices of the People’s Coalition Against Xenophobia, in Sandton Central Park on Friday 24 April.
"The brief gathering will be attended by representatives from corporate South Africa and is connected with a larger march taking place in the Johannesburg CBD tomorrow. This separate Sandton initiative is one spearheaded by a group of concerned young candidate attorneys from various law firms in the firm's immediate precinct in Sandton and, considering the location, is less of logistical challenge for those wishing to take part," said Brent Williams, CEO of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
"The intention behind this initiative is to raise money and provide tangible support for the victims of xenophobic violence with the money collected to be donated to the Gift of the Givers Foundation. The march is also intended to raise awareness and exert pressure on the state to move more effectively to stop the attacks spreading and to condemn the violence unequivocally.
Williams noted that candidate attorneys from both the firm's Cape Town and Johannesburg offices were also raising funds (and facilitating non-financial contributions) in support of well-known NGO's that are attempting to assist thousands of fellow Africans who have been displaced (predominantly in Kwa Zulu Natal and Gauteng) by the xenophobic attacks.
"We must not be under any illusion that a significant contributing factor to these attacks stems from the continuing challenges and frustrations the majority of South Africans (and indeed, the most marginalised and poor) face on a daily basis, notwithstanding our transition to a democracy 21 years ago.We must be asking questions regarding what it is that we may be doing (or perhaps, not doing) as citizens that creates an environment where our fellow citizens are so helpless and hopeless so as to brutalise vulnerable fellow Africans.
"The underlying triggers of xenophobia aside, the impact of xenophobia is not isolated to pockets within our country but has far reaching implications on our people, our economy, our relationships with the rest of Africa, and globally.
"As Africans, we must stand together as one to embrace the opportunities presented by our continent's emergence, development and growth in order to lay the basis for the kind of prosperity that all Africans have earned the right to aspire to but have never fully known. We must stand together as Africans, celebrating our similarities and learning from our differences, practising tolerance and forbearance and, embracing diversity as we go about our daily lives," Williams added.