By Benjamin Njoku
Organizers of the 16th edition of 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 the fresh attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in South African.
In separate statements released during the week, they jointly condemned unequivocally the reoccurring xenophobic attacks against African migrants including Nigerians in South Africa.
According to the founder and festival director of AIFF, Mr Fidelis Duker, their actions are hitched on 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 retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa.
The statement reads thus: “ On behalf of the management and organize of the 16 th Abuja International, we wish to announce the immediate suspension of all South African Film Entries submitted for the 16th Abuja International Film Festival scheduled for 22nd to 25th of October 2019.”
“We as an International Film Festival condemn unequivocally the reoccurring 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.”
“It is important to also state that AFRIFF has had a long standing relationship with DIFF and Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission which has resulted in the exchange of ideas, films, filmmakers, financing and future co-production opportunities. To this end, we are reviewing all the films submitted to the festival with the intention of expressly removing any film and banning any filmmaker from the festival that has positively expressed xenophobic ideas or any kinds of bigotry.
“We commiserate with the families of the departed and those who have suffered bodily damage and loss of property and we remain disposed to offer whatever assistance that we can in the furtherance of healing and true accommodation in that much hallowed spirit of Ubuntu,” the statement reads.