“Attacks on migrant workers are a symptom of a culture of prejudice which, if left unchecked, will further destabilize a country scarred by apartheid.” William Gumede
South Africa has a wild, painful and prejudiced history. The culture of violence has its roots in the ever remembered violence of colonialism and apartheid .It is a place we all wish to learn and move away from. South Africa has since strived to blossom into a melting pot of welcomed and embraced cultures, religions and peoples. Our ever adorned phrase: “A Rainbow Nation” but lately we have regressed. There has been an insurgency of Xenophobic attacks on foreigners that live in our land.
But why? The discriminatory and intolerant influence by our own leaders is blatantly shown. King Goodwill Zwelithini, traditional leader of the Zulu, commented by insinuating that African migrants are taking the jobs and public resources meant for locals. So they should “take their things and go.” Go where though? Back to their war torn, famine riddled; a thousand Zim Dollars buys you nothing, Isis and Al-Qaeda ravaged towns from which their surviving family members fled?
Our own president was quoted saying that South African blacks should not behave as “typical” blacks from “Africa” The African National Congress general secretary, Gwede Mantashe, was noted blaming "foreigners" for stirring up turbulence in South Africa’s platinum belt. What substantive evidence is this based on?
The IMF (international Monetary Fund) recently downgraded South Africa’s growth for this year from 2.3% to 2.1%. African immigrants compete against the locals for scarce resources at the very basic levels. They are usually better educated, more resourceful and hardworking than the South African locals as they feel the need to prove themselves, this creates a huge threat. A “survival of the fittest mentality” is created with our ever mounting unemployment rate and poor public services delivery, all aggravates the growing resentment.
Why this has to be expressed in such a violent manner is heartbreaking, it is a mask for what really is going on in our Country, but before you cancel your Safari plans to South Africa or take us all for racists- know this: these isolated incidents do not speak for our entire country, nor do they speak for all of us, we are not all racist and prejudiced extremists that take others lives at a whim and have no regard for others lives. No, many of us believe that borders are man-made things and they should not make us feel disparate from one another. Our dialect, skin colours and cultures should be something that reminds us of our diversity as human race and should never be used as a device to justify abhorrence and brutality towards our fellow man! Nor should it be used as a scapegoat to mask your undirected anger towards those who are supposed to Govern and protect us.
I would ask us all to look at ourselves and the way we treat those that are different from us; the girl down the road that always talks really loudly or dresses weirdly or looks at you strangely. Let’s embrace each other and make others that are displaced feel welcome. None of us belong here we are all just passing through…