Organisers of the 16th Abuja International Film Festival, AIFF, and The Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, have announced the immediate suspension of all South African films submitted for the festival scheduled to hold from 22nd through 25th of October 2019, following recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The director of AIFF, Mr Fidelis Duker, said the suspension was as a result of the global outcry especially by Nigerians across the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in response to the violence against their countrymen in South Africa.
The statement reads: “ On behalf of the management and organisers of the 16th Abuja International, we wish to announce the immediate suspension of all South African Film Entries submitted for the 16 th Abuja International Film Festival scheduled for 22nd to 25th of October 2019.”
“We as an International Film Festival condemn unequivocally the recurring xenophobic attacks against African migrants, including Nigerians in South Africa.”
“We have observed the global outcry especially by Nigerians all over the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa.”
“However, AFRIFF has taken this painful and avoidable decision to suspend entries submitted by filmmakers from the Republic of South Africa until further notice. We therefore strongly condemn hate, prejudice and xenophobic actions of some South African nationals and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence in any form.”
The statement added, that the film festival was a platform that was created to promote mutual harmony, respect for the dignity of life.
“We will continue to advocate a society where everyone’s rights and freedoms are respected. The right to live and earn a living, freely, safely and protected by the law.”
They called on South African government to intervene.
“We therefore as a matter of necessity call on the South African government to address the issue of xenophobic attacks with utmost seriousness where the perpetrators are brought to book.”