Africa’s Response to George Floyd’s Murder
by Judy Bokao
It has been more than a week after the world was angered by witnessing the viral video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Africans were quick to protest the death of the 46 year-old African American who was cold-heartedly murdered while in police custody. Africa is considered a minority continent and knows and understand the struggle of a minority community. It has had its fair share of the struggle and experiences of abuse and oppression. The video touched so many Africans who can relate to the blatant police brutality.
African leaders, though cautious, were quick to take the U.S. government to task over the death of George Floyd. The African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat was among the first to extend his deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and loved ones while heavily condemning the senseless murder. He recalled the historic Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the United States launched by African Leaders back in 1964 and reaffirmed the African Union’s rejection of the ongoing discriminatory practices against African Americans. He asked American authorities to intensify their efforts in working towards eliminating all forms of discrimination based on ethnic origin.
In South Africa, many took to social media to show their support to their fellow black counterparts in America. The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba of Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town condemned the killing saying, “George Floyd’s killing flies in the face of solidarity evident in the world’s response to the pandemic, we condemn the brutal treatment he was subjected to. As we heard those words of desperation,” I cannot breathe,” we mourned for the loss of all life at this time, through violence everywhere. May Mr Floyd rest in peace.” The South African national government said that the regrettable death of Mr. Floyd has presented the U.S. with an opportunity to address the fundamental issues of human rights , such as freedom dignity and equality. The South African ruling party urged President Ramaphosa to engage with the U.S. “to diffuse racial tensions and build social cohesion among different races.”
Former Benin President also condemned the murder and spoke on behalf of the Forum of Former Heads of State and Government asking Africans to “raise a strong protest” and “demand that the perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice.” In his impassioned speech, he perfectly captured the rage in all of us. He asked, “What level of cruelty must you reach that the entire world finally wakes up and manifests its indignation?” He went on to note that “enough is enough and that Benin is standing with African Americans during these difficult and trying times and hopes that the tragic death of Mr. Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism.”
A group of Nigerians took to protesting at the U.S. embassy to show their support to the Black Lives Matter Movement. They called for an end to racial discrimination and injustice while heavily condemning the innocent killings at the hands of police officers. The group said that it will no longer watch in silence as their brothers and sisters are being subjected to all manners of ill-treatment by law enforcement officers in America. They called the killing of innocent African Americans an act of barbarism which has no place in any society.
Kenyans also took to social media to offer support to their kith and kin in America asking them not to hesitate if they need help on speaking up on the racial bias. Others gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Nairobi to protest the killing. They chanted “ Black Lives Matter” as they called for accountability from the U.S. embassy in law enforcement both in the country and abroad. The U.S. Ambassador to Kenya released a statement saying,“George Floyd was murdered by a police officer empowered by the government you serve, who acted with the knowledge that the system will protect his actions and condemn Floyd. This perpetuates the narrative that a black body is a threat and its destruction is not only understood but expected.” The Ambassador statement points to the concern of inappropriate police actions and called for leaders to act and change policing across the world. Other U.S. Ambassadors to different African nations have also issued statements asking for justice and a humane society while condemning the abhorrent death of Mr. Floyd.
African athletes and celebrities have also shown their support for the protests going on in America over the murder of Mr. Floyd. Achraf Hakimi demonstrated his support by crossing his fists in the air after scoring. He also lifted his jersey to reveal ‘justice for George Floyd’ handwritten on his vest. Egyptian footballer Mo Salah joined his Liverpool team-mates on sending a message of solidarity by kneeling around a centre circle during the Reds’ training session. Other African artists showed their solidarity by posting their support online and calling for change.
The world is watching. It’s my hope that America can bring justice for its Black community once and for all.
About the Author:
Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.