Xenophobia has many definitions but they all have one factor in common which is “hatred and fear”. South Africa is a country that was once under the clutches of apartheid, and with the help of people like Nelson Mandela as well as other African countries they gained their freedom.
The years of apartheid are long gone but clearly the mentality still lingers long after in the minds of certain South AfricansAbbey 2019
Xenophobia, according to Andreas Wimmer, is “an element of a political struggle about who has the right to be cared for by the state and society: a fight for the collective goods of the modern state.” In other words, xenophobia arises when people feel that their rights to benefit from the government is being subverted by other people’s rights.
Xenophobia in South Africa isn’t a new occurence with some widely documented xenophobic attacks occurring in 2008 and another in 2015 and presently again in 2019, yet I wonder why it took this long for it to gain popularity and cause a much needed outrage amongst other countries and individuals. It’s no news that certain South Africans have occasionally considered their country “different and better from the rest of the African continent ” but who would ever have realized that the country Madiba fought for would go ahead to stab Africa in the back with their actions.
There are no words to excuse this hatred, I’m in pain when I come across my fellow countrymen and Africans been beaten, set on fire and killed while some have their means of livelihood taken away from them just because they are seen as “threats to natives of South Africa” . They’re seen as a threat to other South Africans getting new jobs, they’re seen as threats to them getting a wife/husband , they’re seen as threats to their creativity, my people are seen as criminals. In fact the very existence of other Africans in South Africa is a threat to some South Africans. Yet this hatred is only targeted at black foreigners while white foreigners are considered to be investors and allies( the hypocrisy stinks) .
The political crisis has been given as an excuse for the xenophobic attacks with politicians( like the deputy police minister in 2017 who stated clearly that if something isn’t done then a foreigner might become president) inciting and fuelling the violence against foreigners by spreading cankerworms of lies instead of taking responsibility for perceived failure on the part of government. But I believe that no human being can incite another into commiting such a callous act if the latter didn’t already want to do so. All the politicians are doing is just providing a leverage for this individuals to go ahead with their plans because they have the backing of political figures.
South Africa has been plagued by poverty and bad governance yet politicians instead use the excuse of foreign presence as a way to appeal to some of their retarded countrymen thereby breeding hatred . They accuse the foreigners of taking up their jobs whilst leaving them poor, they accuse the foreigners of raping their women, selling drugs and other unverifiable criminal cases even when some of these SAns do nothing than drink and sit at home waiting and expecting a life of luxury to be handed to them without an ounce of hard work.
Now I will admit here that there are bad eggs of course within the foreign community, but that doesn’t give the right to attack and maim an entire community for the sins of few people who could easily be arrested and made to face a court of law for any criminal acts they’ve supposedly committed. That also doesn’t give anyone the right to ascribe all criminal tendencies towards a community of people just because they’re “foreigners ” while turning a blind eye to the actual culprits within their own people.
It has been proven beyond all reasonable doubts that most of the arguments put forth by these xenophobics are in no way true or a reflection of the foreigners rather this foreigners work hard to fend for themselves and survive with little or no help from government. Yet their discipline and hardwork has been assumed to be a threat to some South Africans. It’s also valuable to point out that this same treatment isn’t meted out to white foreigners but rather only to black African foreigners – how can one be racist against their own fellow black Africans yet exhault another community of foreigners just because of their skin color.
So far the South African government led by Cyril Ramphosa has come out to condemn the attacks, while the commissioner of SA to Nigeria took the cowardice route by denying that there was any xenophobic attacks to begin with. It’s hard for them ton condemn or advocate against something they’ve vehemently supported over time with their statements and laws.
Lungelo Dlamini a police spokesperson describing the xenophobic attacks as a case of criminality and looting, but this description isn’t totally correct it was much more than just looting. Even South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele dismissed reports the ongoing attacks were xenophobic. “Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” he told reporters on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality. With leaders like this refusing to accept the truth for what it’s such xenophobic attacks will continually occur.
Even the African National Congress, a party that brought the reverred Nelson Mandela into power also making xenophobic statements against foreigners ,and asking walls to be built to prevent their entry nothing much can be expected anymore from them. One of the laws been propagated is the plan to segregate foreigners something like what Trump is doing, based on wealth and perceived importance to the economy.
As at 2011 there were about 2.2million foreigners in South Africa, far less than the about 59million South Africans so where does the threat come from? What most of this xenophobic black SAns fail to realize is that even at the moment 80% of their economy is controlled by the white population even post-apartheid. Hence leading to racial inequality amongst the whites and blacks in South Africa .
According to a 2017 government audit, 72% of the nation’s private farmland who make up 9% of the population. The organization Afriforum claim that 24% of South African land is owned by the state and 34,5% is owned by black people. With white families earning significantly more than black family, this can be considered as an aftereffect of pre-apartheid where blacks where not allowed to have as much educational experience while denying them job and economic opportunities like the whites hence they fail to get better jobs even post apartheid due to limited skills and education .
Now in no way should xenophobia be justified or excused to any group of people rather all this hate and anxiety should be targeted at the right people -which is the government of the day who’re unable to provide adequate resources or share the resources of the country equally across all caste. The government are also unable to enact laws that protect all people living in South Africa as well as a proper judicial system where guilty criminals are tried and punished. But I guess it’s easier to point fingers at the foreigners rather than at the government.
And before anyone comes at me with “why can’t all the foreigners go back to their different countries” we must realize that this people have a right to live legally in any country of their choice , each of this foreigners have built homes and businesses for themselves and their families.
Many of them even regard South Africa as their home yet you want them to pack their bags and leave everything they’ve worked for behind just because certain group of people have a perverted sense of entitlement sprinkled with unnecessary racism.Most of this migrants have contributed positively and immensely to the economy of the nation till date and don’t deserve to be rewarded like this.
Yet countries like Nigeria has dominant South African brands like DSTv, MTN and Shoprite present, yet we don’t accuse them of stealing our jobs rather we praise them for creating employment opportunities and investments for our citizens. This can never be said of the larger part of the South African populace
We all are Africans and at the end of the day we’ve to look out for each other, the breeding of hate and strife amongst Africans will only lead to downfall of no-one else but us Africans.
Noah Trevor sums it all: