Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has referred to perpetrators of xenophobia in South Africa as “fake Africans.”
Museveni made the comment in a Twitter thread on Tuesday after meeting legendary musician Kanda Bongo Man, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He said Bongo Man, 64, fled the DRC because of political instability when he was just 17 years old and first went to France.
‘Bongo Man had to flee SA because of xenophobia’
However, Museveni said when Bongo Man came to South Africa more recently, he had to flee to the United Kingdom after a spate of xenophobic attacks.
He wrote, “Bongo Man tells me that he has personally suffered the plight of instability from his home country, forcing him to go to France when he was 17 years [old], and recently had to relocate from South Africa to the U.K. when the fake Africans in South Africa carried out xenophobic attacks.
“This is a total shame because the majority of present South Africans originated from Cameroon. In Uganda however, nobody can talk against a fellow Africans because it is not the way of our culture.”
Museveni’s comment has raised eyebrows among some South Africans on Twitter. Prominent journalist Qaanitah Hunter commented, “Haibo, we are now fake Africans?”
Kanda Bongo Man and South Africa
Kanda Bongo Man, who is best known as a pioneer of the Congolese Soukous genre and more specifically the kwassa kwassa sub-genre, was last in South Africa in 2015.
He performed at several venues, including at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park and at a concert against xenophobia held in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
In an interview with Mail&Guardian at the time, he said, “I come to South Africa to do work – perform and record – but normally I live in London. I do have a house in South Africa, in Limpopo. I travel a lot all over the world. I’m always on tour.”
In April of the same year, there were some xenophobic attacks reported in Durban and some parts of Johannesburg. It’s unclear if Museveni was referring to these attacks.
Nevertheless, Bongo Man has close ties with South Africa. In the same interview, he said a South African, Jumbo Vanrenen, boosted his international career.
Bongo Man also has an album titled Welcome to South Africa, which he recorded in 1995.