I am South African, says ANC candidate Oyiya after being mocked for surname
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Pretoria - ANC Councillor candidate in Sunnyside, Ward 59, Caroline Nonkululeko Oyiya has defended her South African nationality after her detractors on Twitter made mockery of her for carrying a surname that sounded Nigerian.
Some social media comments smacked of xenophobia claiming that the ANC in the City of Tshwane had deployed a Nigerian as one of its councillor hopefuls.
Oyiya, who has her ancestral roots in the Eastern Cape in Komani, said she was deeply hurt when she first heard the hateful remarks that she was a foreigner.
Speaking to the Pretoria News, Oyiya said: “People have said hurtful things about me and to be honest with you I was so hurt and disappointed and I couldn’t even eat. To start with I don’t have a passport and I have never applied for a passport in my name.”
She said she was born on October 29, 1974, in Baragwanath hospital in Soweto. Both of her parents are Xhosa and came to Gauteng in search of greener pastures and work.
“Oyiya is a Xhosa surname,” she said.
She had never travelled outside the country since she was born.
“But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to visit other countries, I would like to visit them, even Nigeria where some people claim I come from,” she said.
Oyiya said her mom was deeply worried that her daughter was accused of being a foreigner. I applied for my first ID at Queenstown Home Affairs. I am not a foreigner. I think if I am not mistaken I applied for my ID in 1993 and at the time I was doing standard nine,” she said. Oyiya’s interest in politics started when she worked for Telkom as a shop steward of the Communications Workers’ Union.
In 2015, she volunteered to take a voluntary severance package and joined the ANC, where she was active in the women’s league structure.
The ANC Greater Tshwane region has strongly condemned the social media commentary surrounding the nationality and Oyiya’s marital surname, saying they were “not only xenophobic in nature, but also seek to impugn her character and thus, her councillor candidacy of her ward”.
“The fact of the matter is that Comrade Oyiya hails from Komani in the Eastern Cape and is a proud Mpondomise woman. Her surname, Oyiya, has its roots and foundations in this nation,” the party said.
“The ANC appealed to political parties, social media users and the public “to exercise restraint and discretion when commenting and sharing information on social media platforms and to always verify the accuracy of information being shared”.