Standing against Xenophobia in South Africa: Meet peace activist Sophie Kanza, DR Congo

Our foundation ( started as an initiative that would bring young people together to work collectively to uplift their communities. It was important for us to find a way to promote cohesion in a city where socio-economic factors negatively affected the youth. We wanted to create platforms and activities that would get people involved and make them more aware of what was happening in their surroundings and how they could be of help, even with limited resources. This promotion of team work in turn would create tolerance and understanding, diminish hate and competition among individuals.

We have successfully been able to create awareness around social issues faced by young people. We created, directed and shot an afrophobia awareness film to place emphasis on the plight on immigrants in living in South Africa. Our video was played on Trace Africa as part of their Africa Day campaign during the month of May 2017.

We are strongly motivated by our love for our continent and our strong pan African upbringing. We are also inspired by people we meet, from all walks of like, whether established successful philanthropists or little children who have remarkable stories to share.

Johannesburg is widely known as a migrant city, so our youth volunteers comprises of individuals from many African countries and locals as well. Their participation and interaction gives the locals an opportunity to meet and work with youth who are just like them but are from other countries. When they get to know each other and develop friendships, it helps to create awareness of people and to stop xenophobia.

The biggest lesson is how people will always find a way to justify injustice and hate, or prefer to turn a blind eye to what is happening. Some prominent people with positions of power would sometimes also use their platform to spread hate and ignorance. We are committed to work harder in educating people on the hardships migrant/refugees and immigrants face every day until there will be a positive change.

If I had an advice to give to my younger self it would be to start much earlier, to be even more passionate and proud of who we are, where we are from and to stand up to xenophobic and afrophobic slurs.

Women should never be discouraged because they are compared to men because it has been proven multiple times that women can do far greater things. It is very important for girls to be empowered and given the same opportunity as boys because that is the only way women will be able to change the future of the world.

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