Organizers of Nigerian Abuja and AFRIFF announced the immediate suspension of all South African films submissions to their festivals. As South Africans we request that DIFF and Kwa-Zulu Natal Commission immediately sever ties with these hostile festivals in response to the attack on our film industry.
All Nigerian productions should also immediately be halted as they benefit from financial rebates that the South African tax payer funds.
We also hope that the Durban Film Festival responds in kind by banning Nigerian filmmakers from entering. The audacity to ban our films and then to still mention that they have a relationship with DIFF and Kwa-Zulu Natal Film Commission to continue funding their films and co-productions is totally condescending.
The looting and burning of South African businesses in Nigeria warrants serious discussion and hope that diplomatic relations can be restored once the Embassies are re-opened.
Though the banning and damage to the South African film industry (who have nothing to do with xenophobia), keep in mind that in fact our children are being killed by the Nigerian drug dealers, human trafficking, crime syndicates and forcing of women and children into prostitution.
Note: In no shape or form do we accept attacks on foreigners, xenophobia is deplorable, and our borders have been welcoming to all economic and political refugees. It is most unfortunate that there are people losing their homes and looting of businesses, but it is driven by criminal gangsterism.
The Nigerian Must Go Campaign
Let's put this in context. Nigeria expelled 2 million Ghanians (their African neighbors), but no one mentioned xenophobia, read at http://atavist.mg.co.za/ghana-must-go-the-ugly-history-of-africas-most-f...
Abuja and AFRIFF statement follows.
According to the founder and festival director of AIFF, Mr Fidelis Duker, their actions are hitched on the global outcry especially by Nigerians across the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa.
The statement reads thus: " On behalf of the management and organize of the 16 th Abuja International, we wish to announce the immediate suspension of all South African Film Entries submitted for the Abuja International Film Festival.
"We have observed the global outcry especially by Nigerians all over the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa."
"However, AFRIFF has taken this decision to suspend entries submitted by filmmakers from the Republic of South Africa. We therefore strongly condemn hate, prejudice and xenophobia actions of some South African nationals and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence in any form. The film festival is a platform that was created to promote mutual harmony, respect for the dignity of life. We will continue to advocate a society where everyone's rights and freedoms are respected. The right to live and earn a living, freely, safely and protected by the law."
"We therefore as a matter of necessity call on the South African government to address the issue of xenophobic attacks with utmost seriousness where the perpetrators are brought to book."
Also, on its own, the founder of AFRIFF, Ms Chioma Ude in a statement condemned the prevailing act of violence, murder and wanton destruction of properties of foreigners in South Africa.
"AFRIFF is aware of the ongoing xenophobic attacks in various cities in South Africa and condemns this act of violence, murder and wanton destruction of properties of foreigners in the strongest terms."
"It is the belief of AFRIFF that the arts as exemplified in films is a powerful tool of shaping public opinions, beliefs, attitude, disposition and actions, hence we believe that it is a vehicle that should be explored maximally to spread the gospel of tolerance, co-operation and mutual understanding amongst the spectrum of humanity."
"It is important to also state that AFRIFF has had a long-standing relationship with DIFF and Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission which has resulted in the exchange of ideas, films, filmmakers, financing and future co-production opportunities.