Xenophobia Or Afrophobia: A Major Hindrance To Pan African Dream
The dream of the forefathers of pan Africanism seem to be getting more distant, due to xenophobia and 'Afrophobia' which are openly eating African countries, South African in particular.
The ongoing killings of foreigners by some South Africans in Durban and other parts of the country, indicates the difficult long journey that African people are destined to undertake to realize this long awaited dream.
Historically Africa was one land before the coming of the white man who scrambled and portioned the beloved continent.
He erected boarders, forcing Africans to abandon their cultures changing our names and so many other atrocities.
After realizing the damage inflicted on African people, our forefathers decided to rescue them selves from the chains of oppression.
The foundation that was laid by Nkwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela and others seem to be getting cracks.
The intentional abandoning of African history by our brainwashed African leaders is one among the many factors that are keeping our societies in darkness.
This has been partly the intention of the 'third force', to keep Africans in such a situation, as it continues to influence all the proceedings on the continent.
Africans have been directly or indirectly brainwashed and made to believe that what is white is special and black is a curse and valueless.
Africans do a number of mischiefs to their fellows, for example, a car which driven by a white (wo)man, will not be checked at a road block.
However, a black Police officer will be merciless while serving his fellow black man.
When a black man goes to an African Embassy to ask for a visa, the chances of being denied are far higher than that of a light skinned fellow from Europe or the West, even if the former has completed all the requirements.
Few months back, Uganda's Parliamentary speaker Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga once blasted the South African Embassy officials in Kampala for mistreating Ugandans who wanted visa to Pretoria.
The out spoken speaker reminded South Africans how Ugandans contributed to their independence, and that they must not forget that history so quickly.
Recently Rwandan officials complained about visa restrictions to her nationals by South Africa, when no South African hustled to gain access to Kigali.
I recall in 2012 South African Migration officials deported 125 Nigerian passengers back home for presenting what they called fake vaccination certificates.
The Nigerian official responded in the same manner and deported 131 South Africans back to Johannesburg.
There was a rift between the two African giants, until South African president Jacob Zuma apologized to his (then) counterpart President Goodluck Jonathan for what happened.
Recently South African Zulu King Goodwill Zwelinthini, while addressing his subjects in Durban uttered what some called irresponsible remarks, the King called on foreigners to pack and leave South Africa.
The king's utterances have received wide range condemnation all over the world and resulted in the ongoing killings, looting and burning of foreigners.
Ironically the King himself is married to a foreign woman from the neighboring Kingdom of Swaziland.
Many foreigners have abandoned their houses and sought refugee in Police stations and places of worship.
South Africans are bitter about their fellow Africans from other countries accusing them of taking their jobs. In 2008 over sixty foreigners lost their lives in similar riots.
The high illiteracy rate and massive unemployment which is estimated to be at 24% has tremendously contributed to the rise of crime in South Africa.
Foreigners from all over the world have started up small businesses in the black Townships, and others own big businesses like Hotels, Schools and so on.
The South African Government encourages foreigners with capital to invest in the home economy, and many have done that and of course, their role can not be under estimated.
It is difficult and hard for an illiterate poor hungry peasant from Umlazi, Mamelodi, Langa or any where in Soweto to concede that a foreigner can own business in his country.
Official data suggests about 2 to 5 Million foreign nationals live in South Africa, with Gauteng the most influential province having around 7% of foreigners.
The Zulu King in his words said that Africans supported them during the Apartheid struggle however; he was quick to note that during their stay in Africa, they did not open up businesses there.
When contacted to clarify on the matter, the king of one of the most influential tribes in Africa, the Zulu, changed the goal post, and said that his words were distorted by the media.
What we gather now, foreigners especially dark skinned from Africa, are in fear for the atrocities which are being carried out on them by their fellow Africans.
The most affected areas are Durban, Johannesburg and the wave is slowly descending to other provinces.
The Government of Malawi has officially announced its readiness to evacuate all its nationals who are working in South Africa
Thabo Mbeki's dream of African renaissance seems to be in the balance.
Our leaders in African Union, East Africa Community and SADAC have a big job a head of them to educate their subjects that, not with standing the boarders that were erected by the oppressors, we are all the same.
Many foreigners do play professional soccer in the South African Castle Premier League and some have acquired South African Citizenship.
What South Africans are doing to foreigners, puts their fellow brothers and sisters who are working abroad at a greater risk.
What do you expect a Mozambican to do if he finds a South African walking on a Maputo street?
Few years back, South Africans were refugees in so many African countries, including president Zuma himself.
They used African resources to the maximum, not only that but, also dented their economies; however, no bad stories are told about the hosts.
No South African was killed, burnt or mistreated like what is being done to the so called foreigners.
I remember during Nelson Mandela's funeral service, Tanzania President Jakaya Murisho Kikwete jokingly asked if former President Thabo Mbeki surrendered Tanzania's Passport he was using to travel around the world.
While addressing parliament on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma condemned the recent xenophobic attacks as 'shocking' and said, ''No frustration or anger can justify the attacks of foreigners and the looting of their property''.
In the final analysis, if African people are dreaming about Pan Africanism, some things must be done to flush out all kinds of prejudice like xenophobia and Afro phobia on the entire African Continent and beyond.
Let the South African Government bring back hope into the broken hearts of fellow Africans, and other foreigners who come to their country for various reasons, otherwise, the precedent which has been created will have far reaching effects.
About The Writer:
Abubakar Sematimba is a Teacher, Journalist, and founder of Blessedly-Ugandan, a foundation that promotes home made products and services.
Cell: +256 758 601 017
E-Mail: [email protected]