Xenophobia: Kamte calls for understanding


15_Mopani_xeno_featureNEWJames Kamte
wrapped up his preparations for the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open on Wednesday and issued a plea for greater understanding of the inter-connectedness of people from the African continent.

Kamte was one of a host of Sunshine Tour players who took up the initiative first launched by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in response to the outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

As the foundation puts it on its website, “Leading voices in sport in South Africa have come together in a unique show of unity to plead for an end to the vicious cycle of xenophobic violence in the country.” Sportsmen and women, and leaders, have taken to Twitter, posting pictures of themselves holding a sign bearing the hashtag #SportAgainstXenophobia.

“I don’t know how much the youth know the history of our country,” said Kamte, “and I don’t know if they know how much Africa countries have done for us in the past. It’s very important that we always remember what was done for us. Just because South Africa is in a good place now, it doesn’t mean we can forget about it. We need to keep in mind that South Africa is a home for Africa.”

As 103 South African Sunshine Tour players take to the fairways of Nkana Golf Club in the company of 41 players from Zambia and other African countries, the ease of the relationship between those players is a pointer to the kind of thing for which Kamte was calling.

“Zambia was one of our staunchest allies when South Africa was struggling for its freedom,” said Kamte, “and they have always supported the Sunshine Tour as well. So playing in the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open is very special for us in a very special country. We’re very grateful as a tour that Zambia supports us and we always appreciate their hospitality.”

The leading Zambian hopeful will be Madalitso Muthiya, who has been close to contending in the last year on the Sunshine Tour, and will want to turn that consistency up a notch on a tight course which will reward his accuracy over the distance off the tee of the likes of Kamte.

In the pre-tournament pro-am, however, Kamte was very straight off the tee and was relishing getting to grips with the course in tournament play. “I love this course,” he said. “It’s all about accuracy, and as soon as you start trying to shape the ball, you can get into trouble.”

And he was all for stopping the xenophobic trouble at home in its tracks. “We need to treat the people who come from African countries the same as we treat our own people,” he said.

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