Hundreds of demonstrators from the South African Economic Freedom Fighters party, marched Wednesday to the French embassy in Pretoria. As the continent marked the 59th anniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity, the protestors demanded that France leave Africa.
"It's Africa day, we know that Africa was colonised, there's only one country on the continent that was not colonised and that is Ethiopia. France still has its dirty little fingers deeply stuck in its former French colonies", EFF spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said.
Dressed in their traditional red T-shirts and caps, the political activists carried placards reading "France must pay reparations for its colonial crimes". The party leader Julius Malema urged France to exit the economic, political, cultural and military affairs of the continent: "French colonialism in the African continent continues to be the most brutal, cruel and devilish form of colonialism in the African continent, he said. We, as a generation of Freedom Fighters reject, and condemn the fact that decades after the declaration of so-called independence of former colonised territories, colonisers continue to maintain a colonial and neo-colonial relationship with African countries which are supposed to be free from colonial control."
Armed police guarded the embassy and French ambassador Aurelien Lechevallier appeared briefly to receive the protestor's memorandum of demands vowing to convey it to Paris. The envoy reaffirmed France was "friends to African nations".
Demonstrations against the French policy in Africa, have taken place across the continent in the past few months.