South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was jeered and whistled at on Saturday while delivering his speech at the funeral of the former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe before he could apologise for the recent xenophobic attacks in his country.
At least 12 people have been killed this month in a surge in violence and mob attacks against foreign-owned businesses in and around Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.
The attacks have prompted some African countries like Nigeria to evacuate some of its citizens from South Africa, while Zimbabwe has also announced plans to begin the evacuation of about 100 of its citizens from the country. Sports and entertainment events in the country have also been boycotted by football teams and music artistes across the continent.
A wave of jeers, boos and whistles interrupted Ramaphosa at the Harare national stadium as he started his eulogy at the state funeral for Mugabe, who died age 95 last week.
“I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and apologise for what has happened in our country,” Ramaphosa said after one of the organisers tried to calm the crowd.
His comments were met with cheers and blasts of sound horns from the crowd.