Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SA's disgraceful attacks sicken me to the core - Former MNET Boss


Former Asante Kotoko Chief Executive and one-time Country Manager of MNET/West Africa, Herbert Mensah has express disappointment in South Africans for their recent barbaric and unhuman attacks on foreign nationals.

Herbert Mensah described the attacks by mostly South African youth as “disgraceful” after lamenting that the situation “sicken me to the core” and "enrage me as a person and sadden me as an African".

“The relationship South Africa should have with the rest of the continent should be based on friendship as well as the humility of knowing that many in Africa sacrificed and suffered in taking positions and making contributions in times of apartheid when more developed countries did not give the same moral or economic support!” he posted on his Facebook wall.

Over the past few weeks, South Africa authorities have been battling sporadic attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

9 people, including 5 Ghanaians and a 14-year-old South African boy, have been killed in the latest flare-up of xenophobic violence. The passing away of the five Ghanaians, according to authorities in South Africa and Ghana, are unrelated to the recent wave of xenophobic attacks.

The Zulu King whose utterances are purported to have flared the attack has also denied making any such remarks, rather blaming South Africa media for fueling the assault on immigrants.

“There are those who say I have committed a crime, but I don’t know which crime I’ve committed because I haven’t killed anybody,” “Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini said.

Though South African President Jacob Zuma has vowed to bring an end to the xenophobic violence, Herbert Mensah, who spent a large part of his early life doing business in the Southern African country, charged him (Zuma) to quickly find an immediate solution to curb "this backward recklessness".

“South Africa is a country I truly love and one I consider in many ways a second/third home,” he noted.

Read below Herbert Mensah’s comment

The disgraceful xenophobic scenes and occurrences in South Africa sicken me to the core. They enrage me as a person and sadden me as an African.

The relationship South Africa should have with the rest of the continent should be based on friendship as well as the humility of knowing that many in Africa sacrificed and suffered in taking positions and making contributions in times of apartheid when more developed countries did not give the same moral or economic support!

Sadly for as long as I can remember many who should know better have not and have simply operated with an ill placed arrogance and misplaced superiority to the rest of the continent!. Maybe it is this short memory behavior of many of the new elite which has allowed the less exposed majority to behave in a globally unacceptable fashion!

Indeed this xenophobia smacks of the racism of the 70s and 80s in Europe when Africans and Caribbeans were also being attacked although never like this) and being asked to return home!

South Africa is a country I truly love and one I consider in many ways a second/third home.

It is a country from which I have learnt a lot and experienced an incredible amount. Indeed in my halcyon days of cellular telephony it was one of my important docking/markets and prior to that I had the privilege of being directly associated with the Ghanaian involvement in the Vodacom Cup (Kotoko and Hearts).

My relationship with MNET and it's brands enabled me to be at the forefront of Face of Africa, Max Brito, African Film Awards, content for Africa like the soccer on Supersport and Ghanaians on Egoli, KTV as well as the brilliance of presenters like Michelle Attoh . Many were placed on Channel O (developed by Sheryl Yeadon and the Africa team of which I was part).

Indeed I have only had good memories of South Africa and with the likes of Irene Charnley, Lazarus Zim, Ivan Khoza, Kaizer Motaung, Naas Botha (plus the ex Spring Bokkers who came to Ghana) Danie Jordan, Etienne Heyns, John Badenhorst, Marie Van Niekerk, Rian Malan, Louis Stockigt, Dotti, Karen, (+ all my colleagues at MNET) Tony Naidoo and his family, Jon Sparks and the Carte Blanche team to mention but a few, I was uplifted, exposed and developed like never before!

Now this backward recklessness has destroyed so much and simply re-affirmed why South Africa never became my only home!

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