It will not be out of place to find on “Googling” XENOPHOBIA, that South Africa comes up somewhere in the mix, with the notoriety they’ve gained with their xenophobic attacks on BLACK AFRICAN migrants, as well as the frequency with which these attacks now occur.
Years back when the early episodes of the attacks started, mainly with Somali shop owners, it was easily attributed to the penchant of those shop owners to underprice their wares compared to the selling price of same goods by their South African counterparts, thereby running them out of business, as it seemed the Somalians were able to source their goods at cheaper costs across the border, or they had better credit lines than the native South Africans.
At the time, fewer eyebrows were raised because the affected were simple Somalians whose country had then become a failed state with no one to speak on their behalf. The lack of political will by the South African government to rein in and prosecute the perpetrators of these dastardly acts, beyond mere rhetoric, also led to recurrent attacks of the kind against other immigrants, beyond the simple petty traders and shop owners, many times with the active connivance of the security agencies, or while the latter stood by and watched, only to later cart away the burnt carcasses of victims of xenophobic attack-related lynchings.
In the latest attack in Durban, most of the victims were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, just like the many before it affected black migrants from other countries in Africa, suggestive of something that is systematically planned and fully executed to the latter, with strings pulled by very powerful individuals in government, traditional societies and the likes; and not some random mob action as many would like for the world to believe.
There is no gainsaying that South Africa is an economic hub in Africa, and as such, as with countries in its position, tend to draw to it, all manner of people from across the continent, and even beyond seeking to partake of the many opportunities it affords, legitimately or not.
Yet in failing to nip in the bud these attacks, South Africa despite economic progress achieved so far, enough to now be considered a member of the BRICS (Economic Bloc consisting of BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA, CHINA and SOUTH AFRICA) Economies, continues to lag behind because of the shadow cast on its growth by this now routine show of shame by its citizens.
In recent days, even University students as well as members of some opposition parties in South Africa have gone on rampage, pulling down statues and relics of the COLONIAL (by the British) and APARTHEID (of White Minority rule) past, while defacing others, as if that will help turn their economic fortunes (which has consistently dipped with the current government, worsening an already bad situation) around, with the government feigning disinterestedness, as the situation seems to keep the people from blaming everything else (migrants, colonial history and apartheid past) but it (the Zuma-led government) for their woes.
What still shocks many Africans today, is that while under apartheid rule, many of the countries whose citizens now suffer abuse, even death at the hands of BLACK South Africans provided feeding, succour, hope, accommodation, education amongst many others for South Africans in exile, especially families of many of those in power today, who have rather elected to be silent, while the citizens they have helped to impoverish go a-immolating their fellow Africans.
America is great today because it opened its arms to the best of the nations, as with great Empires before it, such as the Greek and Roman. If the capacity of South Africans have been built better than those of the migrants, no company will be looking to employ a migrant over an indigenous Bantu in South Africa (except for reason of wage discrepancy, where the migrant may be paid much less). If South Africa wants to continue to be an International Player in the scheme of things, it must recognize that people from other places will continually be drawn to it, and it must continue to adjust and modify its game to accommodate them, as well as preparing her own people to challenge themselves and not just waltz around with the FEELING/SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT that currently pervades their thinking today, even as such amongst them that are the laziest of humans ever created.
South Africans must take their future in their hands, and stop blaming everyone else for their situation. The government must also rise to the occasion by formulating policies that will continue to reduce the wealth gap between the haves (white minority) and the have nots (black majority), to reduce the discontent always felt by the latter. Failure to do this will spell doom for this young democracy and will portray blacks as very incapable of governing themselves let alone others for that matter, confirming what the Boers have always thought of the indigenous Bantus, and of blacks elsewhere.
The African Union, AU besides simply condemning (though I am not sure I have heard any, from the Chairperson of the AU- South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) the Xenophobic Attacks, must wield the “big stick” of sanctions to whip South Africa into line, by means sure to spur the government into action to ensure that this be the last time stories of this sort make the headlines (starting from having the issue of this South African brand of Xenophobia discussed at a Session of the AU), from the same country that produced a Demi-God in the person of NELSON MANDELA, as these acts are capable of making him turn in his grave in sadness at the image his people have continued to portray of themselves.
No nation willing to be great, will treat strangers and migrants the way South Africans are currently treating the strangers and migrants in their midst, the same goes for so called megacities like Lagos in Nigeria, where politics recently drove a wedge between the constituents tribes and groupings that make the state the economic hub that it is today, especially following the unsavoury outbursts of a traditional ruler, whose intents and purposes cannot be totally said to be in the interest of the majority of the populace over which he holds sway. The choice is before Africans to make, either to remain in the parochial or accept that the world has become a global village, and hence move in the direction of the times, where the new civilization and greatness lies.