Terrible! As I watched the other day on Facebook, murderous pictures of black people hacking away at other black people on the streets with machetes, I was sick to the stomach, as scenes of similar pictures replayed in my mind, reminding me of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, as it was then relayed to us via CNN.
Only now, it was not Rwandans against Rwandans. It was South Africans against the rest of Africa. As I watched, I could not help but wonder what was wrong with the black people. What is wrong with Africa?
How can a man in a right frame of mind wield a machete in broad day light and hack people as if they were banana leaves? How can one take somebody’s life, an innocent person’s life just because he is trying to make a living? Yes! Apparently, the reason behind all these senseless killings is that the foreigners were trying to steal their jobs.
But this is ridiculous. Everywhere in the world, in Africa like in Europe, immigrants come because they want to earn a living. They didn’t go to those countries to steal, but to find work, to earn enough, just to feed their families.
Why? This is ridiculous! How can South Africans claim that foreigners came to steal their jobs? If they were sure these jobs really existed, the jobs were there before the foreigners came. So, if they had wanted to work, they should have taken the jobs long before these people even got there!
There is something that South Africans forget. They have forgotten so soon that there was once a war in their country, and the white people were killing them in hordes. Very many of them all ran to African countries, countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia; in countries like Zimbabwe, they sought refuge there for years, and nobody sent them back. Nobody killed them, and nobody said that they came over to their countries to take their jobs. Just because they came to find a job doesn’t mean that they should be killed.
In South Africa, it’s not Xenophobia, but Africaphobia in which this bloodletting streak among Africans goes a long way to show just how well the colonialists did their indoctrination job. In South Africa, just like it was in Rwanda, the greatest achievement of the colonialists reign was to divide the people and plant in them the seed of hatred.
For instance, exactly one month ago, the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the long departed British colonialist was brought down. This was a symbol of how, despite the end of Apartheid and the gains over the past 21 years, South Africa is still battling to deal with institutional racism and inequality, as the untransformed public monuments are harsh reminders of the country’s Apartheid and colonial past.
So, South Africans brought the statue down, and three days later they began to murder their own African brothers. The seeds of hatred Rhodes planted bore fruits in their lives.
Like one irate Zimbabwean recently remarked: “They (South Africans), are bringing down statues of dead white men, but they dare not slap the face of a live one.”
This is very true. Many other whites are living peacefully in the country: the Greeks, the Americans, the Dutch, the English, the Jews, name it. Yet the South Africans take their frustration only on the brother who shares their story, the very sister who shares their bloodline.
This is who they burn on the streets, axe and slaughter. The very brothers and sisters who bled by their side, the blood that helped liberate their great nation. South Africans are divided against themselves and for them, that has always been the bedrock of failure.
According to the 2014 World Report, South Africa continues to struggle with the legacy of apartheid and the challenges relating to addressing increasing demands from its citizens for the realization of economic and social rights as well as respect for fundamental civil and political freedoms. Although the government has been relatively successful in the provision of social services, financial mismanagement, and corruption—especially at the local government level—have seriously undermined progress in effective and efficient delivery of social and economic services.
This is probably why violence against African immigrants has periodically broken out among the country’s poorest citizens who feel they have not tasted the fruits of liberation. Growing disaffection with local governments, increasing poverty levels, and unemployment are the contributing factor to the resurgence of violence against, and attacks on, property belonging to job-seekers, and migrants.
This is not the first time South African locals have been venting their frustration on fellow black Africans, killing them in similar unrest over various issues, particularly a lack of jobs.The only painful aspect is that of all the countries whose citizens South Africa is slaughtering today, there is not a single one that did not contribute, financially or otherwise, to the struggle for independence of that country.
Now they are paying their kindness with fire and unforgiving blades!
The author is an editor with Izuba Rirashe newspaper.