Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Johannesburg - South Africans need to make an effort to get to know and befriend foreigners in the country, former SA Council of Churches (SACC) general secretary Brigalia Bam said on Friday.
“There is a lot of mistrust, there is a lot of jealousy, there is a lot of irritation... mostly over jobs,” she told Daveyton residents at a public meeting.
“There is no need to be violent. Violence will not solve the problem. People will still come to South Africa.”
Bam was speaking on xenophobia at the Charles Wesley Methodist Church.
“It [xenophobia] is not going to end today. We need to find ways and means of knowing the people that are here,” she said.
“We have a tradition here, and we must keep to that tradition of taking care of strangers.”
She said people needed to find ways of living together.
“When we receive a stranger at our homes, you may not necessarily like the stranger... reactions are not always the best, but you have to pretend.”
Bam said South Africans also had an expectation of strangers to behave. When South Africans visited other countries they abided by the foreign laws and did not stay for ever.
“It is unknown how many living in South Africa are not South Africans.
“It's going to be a very long journey. In the continent on which we live, there are many conflicts, and we are part of that conflict,” she said.