Thursday, 6 April 2017

South Africans’ short memories sad

 xenophobic attacks in South Africa
Thousands march against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa through the streets of Johannesburg on April 23, 2015. Unemployment it is certainly not caused by foreigners. PHOTO | GIANLUIGI GUERCIA | AFP  
           The xenophobic attacks in South Africa targeting immigrants from neighbouring countries are the continuation of a scourge that has been going on for many years now. The motive, even motif, behind this psychosis revolves around the rampant poverty and unemployment many black South Africans face. Although it is true that this is an endemic problem, it is certainly not caused by foreigners. Therefore, attacking and sending the African immigrants packing won’t solve the problem.
            For the enemy is within and not without. Instead of addressing the real problem, which is the enduring legacy of apartheid, some South Africans wrongly believe that people from neighbouring countries are to blame for their suffering. The true sources of poverty are landlessness, ignorance and mega corruption. What the majority of the mobsters think are the causes of their miseries are not. Immigrants don’t own land or run the government that’s supposed to address this fubar situation.
               Some 75 per cent of South Africa’s arable land is in the hands of the minority whites, while the government is managed by a few blacks who enrich themselves, leaving the majority in abject poverty.
               Interestingly, even the government seems to be at home with xenophobia because it helps distract the attention of many poor South Africans. Nevertheless, this is a temporal reprieve for the ruling class and the haves. Anybody who wants to solve the problems of South Africa must address the real causes of misery caused by inequality and corruption. This is the only way poor South Africans can solve their problems. For, once they’re done with the foreigners who happen to be fellow Africans, they’ll turn against one another. This pointlessly puts South Africa in harm’s way.
               Just recently, the Economic Freedom Fighters, South Africa’s new and radical political party, tabled a Motion in the parliament seeking to have the government start expropriating land for the landless. The Motion was defeated. Land issues have always been thorny for the post-apartheid governments. No leader since Nelson Mandela has ever wanted to touch such a hot potato that is likely to trigger unrest and wreak economic havoc. Again, for how long will the authorities avoid this issue? What alarms is that the South Africans that many other African countries helped to fight apartheid seem to have so easily forgotten that they replicate the same vices they fought just a few years ago.
            In economic and realistic terms, is it true that African immigrants are the ones causing the miseries of the majority black South Africans? If you compare the wealth South African Indians own to the peanuts African refugees make in South Africa, you’ll find the allegations to be baseless and preposterous.
           It is easy to foretell what’ll happen once the South African xenophobes are done with the immigrants. They’ll turn against the rich blacks, Indians and whites before turning against one another based on ethnicity. Once they’re done with the immigrants, which, of course, is stinking discrimination, only to find that their problems are even bigger, they’ll turn against their compatriots. This is the rule. Founding Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere used to say that once a human tastes human flesh, he will never stop. The same perpetrators of the xenophobic atrocities could end up becoming refugees in the countries of those they’re now attacking.
               It will be for the second time. This time around, they won’t get the warm welcome they were accorded when they were fighting apartheid. Recently, some Nigerians took to the streets, asking their government to reciprocate by expelling South Africans. Suppose all the African countries heed the call and sever ties with South Africa, will its ailing economy survive really? Essentially, no discrimination is good whether it is committed by whites against blacks or blacks against blacks or others. It is a crime all need to abhor and fight. What’s going on in South Africa is but an antithesis to the rainbow nation that doesn’t look like the rainbow itself.
           Is it because the rainbow does not have the black in its colours? Is it because desperation and ignorance have been allowed to become the modus operandi for destitute South Africans? Indeed, South Africans need to be helped out of this malady. It is important to note that hate begets hate. Why’ve South Africans forgotten so quickly and easily?
Source: Daily Nation Kenya, April 7, 2017.

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