Source: Daily Maverick (South Africa)
By Stephen Phiri
Jolidee Matongo, a son of a Zimbabwean immigrant, “was elected (mayor of Johannesburg) after receiving more than 260 council votes on Tuesday [10 August 2021] and remained uncontested, a rare occurrence in the city”, according to Sowetan Live. He is replacing Geoff Makhubo, who succumbed to Covid-19.
Despite this overwhelming acknowledgement based on his “tested” abilities, there was growing social media buzz (“#WeRejectMayorOfJHB”) that seems unhappy that the mayor’s late father was a Zimbabwean.
In a signed letter, the ANC described this campaign as a “social media malicious Afro-phobia… led by faceless people and therefore does not represent the people of Johannesburg”. According to The Star “[some] opposition party [members] in the council had gone as far as approaching Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile to ask him to force the council to choose a new mayor”.
These growing sentiments prompted City of Johannesburg Speaker Nonceba Molwele to remark that “the metro’s new mayor [Jolidee Matongo] is not a foreigner”. Hence, it seems, the crisis of citizenship is beginning to raise its ugly head again. Most of these social media posts seem to confuse citizenship as being an inherited entity.