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Stars boycott South Africa over xenophobic attacks

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Africans have come out to boycott South Africa after days of looting and violence targeting foreigners in which five people died.

Nigerian singers and Zambia's football team are among those in the boycott.

South Africa's social development minister told the BBC the rioters feared losing their jobs to foreigners.

The country has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa. It has one of the continent's biggest and most developed economies.

Who has boycotted South Africa?

Nigerian Afrobeats star Burna Boy vowed to never go to South Africa again until the government "wakes up".

He tweeted that he himself had had his own "xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans " in 2017.

Another Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage, announced on Twitter she was pulling out of a concert she had planned to perform at in South Africa in September, condemning "the barbaric butchering of my people".

Skip Twitter post by @TiwaSavage

I refuse to watch the barbaric butchering of my people in SA. This is SICK. For this reason I will NOT be performing at the upcoming DSTV delicious Festival in Johannesburg on the 21st of September. My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this.

— Tiwa Savage (@TiwaSavage) September 4, 2019

End of Twitter post by @TiwaSavage

It is not clear whether any Nigerians have died in the violence but the singer later clarified that "my people" could be any African person.

The Nigerian government has also boycotted the World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was originally expected to attend the regional meeting between business leaders and governments.

And the country has issued a travel warning to its citizens, tweets Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's assistant.

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Zambia's football association has cancelled an international friendly match against South Africa scheduled to take place on Saturday in the capital, Lusaka.

"This is because of the security concerns, you never know what can happen," Football Association of Zambia secretary general Adrian Kashala, told AFP news agency. "We want to be sure of the security of [the] visiting team," he added.

Anger across the continent

By Milton Nkosi, BBC News

Authorities, such as the police and some politicians, were reluctant to call these latest attacks xenophobic. They instead referred to the looting and torching of businesses as acts of criminality. Some observers say that this is because they are embarrassed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, however, did come out to condemn the attacks and insisted that "South Africa is home to all". His comments did not help quell the anger across the continent.

Videos subsequently emerged of retaliatory attacks against South African businesses across Africa.

Police fired tear gas at angry protesters at a branch of the South African-owned supermarket Shoprite in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Meanwhile, the South African mobile phone company MTN said it was closing all of its shops in Nigeria after attacks.

What are the boycotters angry about?

They are angry about South Africans attacking other Africans living in the country.

Since Monday, mobs have been looting shops and torching trucks driven by foreigners in various parts of South Africa.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to stop the looting.

Police say five people have been killed. They say two of those killed were South African and one was identified. They did not give the nationalities of the other two.

At least 189 people have been arrested.

What sparked the riots?

Some say foreigners are blamed for taking people's jobs, others say they are blamed for pushing drugs.

The attacks on foreign stores began a day after South African truckers started a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. They blocked roads and torched foreign-driven vehicles mainly in the south-western KwaZulu-NatRead More – Source