African, that’s what I am, before anything else. Before the fact that I am South African. The self-proclaimed “Rainbow Nation”. South Africa is such a diverse country, I ask myself why it is such a big problem for a foreign national to simply add to the diversity. The reasons these Xenophobes give you for being Xenophobic are really based on unrealistic principles such as, foreign nationals are the reason for the increase in lack of employment in South Africa as they are taking jobs “away” from them. Some South Africans are filled with pride to the point where they refuse to take low income jobs that a foreign national would not mind taking. In South Africa many of these foreign nationals provide skills and take advantage of the fact that there is a need for people who have skills like them, usually opening up shops and generating income for their family. This anger against your fellow brother, where you hate someone simply because of the fact that they are from a different country, the fact that their roots stem in a different direction, makes one ask themselves how they cope with the general everyday diversity in South Africa.
The word “phobia” literally means “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”, an irrational fear … that’s all it is, and we seem to forget that these riots affect the country on many levels. The rand is becoming weaker with each and every moment these riots continue, many foreign investors are pulling out of all the South African companies and brands they have invested in. The reputation of many South Africans is being dragged in the mud just because of a few individuals who lack to see the beauty in the growth of diversity. What saddens me most is the fact that no political leader in South Africa has publicly spoken up about how bad Xenophobia is and how it can only serve to hurt South Africa, rebuking it, and also bring shame upon those who seem to be Pro-Xenophobic. No African leader, whose people are being beheaded, burned alive, killed, raped in a country they share a continent with, has tried speaking up for the people of his country. Not every foreign national in South Africa has necessarily planted a good seed, which benefits our community but who gave you the right to take the life of someone else, to rape a child knowing how you would feel if that had to happen to your mother, daughter, sister, niece or even aunt? These riots have opened up a platform in which now the foreign nationals living in South Africa are being stolen from, which raises an even bigger question, are these people protesting or are they now merely preying on the weak, using Xenophobia as a platform ?
At the moment I can’t really say,” I am proudly South African. “Because the last shred of confidence I had within me to say that has really been depleted, and now I am utterly just left at awe and in despair of how, we have lost touch with basic morals and where they should lie and how we should treat each other as humans. We seem to forget that we are all foreigners in our own country, many of us, if we had to go deep into our family trees would realize how dislocated we really are. So why is 21st Century such a major issue? What example are we setting for the future generation, is this the freedom that our fore fathers fought for? Is this what 20 years of democracy calls for? Our freedom serves no purpose if we do not utilize it, and what these Xenophobes are doing now is dragging our constitution in the mud. Stop blaming other human beings for your failures, learn to empower yourself not depower others, simply because they see opportunities where most seem to see degradation.
“I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me” – Kwame Nkrumah.
#STOPXENOPHOBIA … Lucy