South African papers are breathing a sigh of relief as thousands of patriots turned out to denounce the damage inflicted on the reputation of the 'rainbow nation' by two weeks of xenophobic attacks on African immigrants.
Mail and Guardian says the violence brought out the worst and the best as charity brought hope to the country in the face of xenophobic despair. Some marches took place in badly affected neighbourhoods of Johannesburg, with organisers counting up to 8,000 demonstrators in one district.
City Press says the media is now in the firing line for its coverage of the violence. This is after South Africa’s Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu launched a scathing attack on local media houses for their lack of patriotism.
She was speaking at an anti-xenophobic rally or “imbizo” at the Alexandra stadium in Johannesburg Friday. According to City Press, she even presented herself as a collateral victim of the attacks saying they had created tensions in the home of her niece whose husband is Nigerian. There are worse things happening in other countries, she reportedly told the rally, adding that those things would never be seen in the media.
City Press reports that the deputy police boss was surrounded on the occasion by representatives from Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan and Burundi, as well as local dignitaries, wondering aloud what Nelson Mandela would think of his country had he been alive to see South African children chasing away other Africans.
And in a happy story coming from Nigeria, Punch reports a meeting between Buhari and a man who claims to have walked 550km from Lagos to Abuja to celebrate the major general’s victory in the elections.
Suleiman Hashimu hails from Buhari’s native Katsina State and says he was fulfilling a vow he made to God two years ago that he would trek to the capital by foot if Buhari won the 2015 presidential elections. The exhausted man told an admiring Buhari how he started his journey from the Lagos neighbourhood of Berger trekking from 6 am to 6 pm for 18 days stopping to sleep where ever night met him.
Buhari reportedly thanked Hashimu and expressed delight after examining the condition of his feet. “I heard so many stories that you wore out about half a dozen pair of shoes," the president-elect teased, adding that he also understood people were quite generous to help Hashimu pay for more pairs of shoes while he was on his journey. Punch says the two exchanged gifts and took a series of photographs to celebrate the occasion.
In Ghana, the Chronicle predicts a dramatic change in the conservative ways of worship in the country’s churches. This is as a group of comedians intensified rehearsals to launch a so-called ‘Gospel Lafftology’ show in an Accra church next week.
According to the paper, the lead will not be a traditional preacher but established Ghanaian comedians such as DKB, Hogan, Paranran, Khemical, Auntie Mary, Man Of God, Parrot Mouth and others who are determined to prove that even in church, people can also worship God with laughter.