Africa: The Christchurch Massacre - Leadership in New Zealand and South Africa


The response of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the Christchurch mosque massacres is markedly different from South African official responses to attacks on foreign nationals. Many South African leaders are part of xenophobic discourse. Ardern and her government demonstrate that firm action against terrorism and gun control can go together with compassion and respect for refugee communities who have made a foreign country their home.

This article first appeared on Creamer Media's website:

'Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities - New Zealand is their home - they are us.' - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, reacting to the massacre, 14 March 2019

In the wake of the mosque massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand, many have admired the actions of New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. It is important for us, as South Africans, to draw lessons from her actions. This is not simply to compare her leadership with our present leadership, but to see to what extent her actions can point to the qualities we need in leadership, now and in the future.

It is true that one needs more than leadership to have an emancipatory politics. One needs people who...

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