‘Man on Ground’ Anti-Xenophobia Film Tours South Africa


The award-winning IOM-backed anti-xenophobia film ‘Man on Ground’ will tour four South African provinces as part of an information campaign: ‘Tell Them We Are From Here’ between April 5th – 19th.

The community screenings are aimed at raising awareness about the challenges experienced by migrants in South Africa, and initiating dialogue among local communities and migrants on diversity, tolerance and peace.

‘Tell Them We Are From Here’ is an anti-xenophobia campaign led by Akin Omotoso, the writer and director of ‘Man on Ground.’ The campaign challenges South African communities and migrants to live peacefully together irrespective of differences.

The campaign also builds on the IOM campaign ‘I Am a Migrant Too,’ which aims to promote peace and diversity by enabling South African communities to recognize that everyone has at some point been a migrant and that migration should be therefore celebrated.

“Through these screenings, IOM hopes to change the attitude of local communities towards migrants and demonstrate how local and migrant communities can live peacefully together and have fulfilling and long lasting relationships,” says Dr. Erick Ventura, IOM South Africa Acting Chief of Mission.

Post-screening interviews will be filmed after each screening to give viewers the opportunity to voice their experiences and views individually on issues of xenophobia, identity, belonging, social cohesion and exclusion.

This year marks five years since the xenophobic attacks in South Africa shocked the country, the region and the world in May. The recent death of a Mozambican taxi driver and regular reports of intimidation of foreigners show that tensions still exist between locals and migrants.

IOM hopes the community screenings will help to spark public debate about xenophobia in key communities and help promote social cohesion and tolerance of migrants in South Africa.

These filmed testimonials will be part of an exhibition: ‘Tell Them We Are from Here,’ which will open in May 2013 to mark the 5th anniversary of the 2008 xenophobia attacks. The exhibition will be made up of photographs, text and short videos – all revolving around xenophobia and collected during and after screenings of the film in Musina, Malelane, Durban and Cape Town.

In 2011, IOM supported the production of the “Man on Ground,’ which was inspired by a photograph of Ernesto Nhamuave burning to death during the xenophobic riots. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and subsequently received multiple awards at the Jozi Film Festival, the African Movie Academy Awards and Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards.

The community screenings are supported by the IOM, the Goethe Intitut and the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA.)