Xenophobia has no place in Africa

Editor, Refer to the letter, “Africa can decisively deal with xenophobic South Africa” (The New Times, April 27).

Editor,

Refer to the letter, “Africa can decisively deal with xenophobic South Africa” (The New Times, April 27).

This is an inflammatory invitation to a tit-for-tat divisionism among Africans. Let us remember: South Africa is the birthplace of a truly African man: Madiba.

Let us continue to look up to him and learn to constructively forgive for the sake of a “United Africa”; yes, including our brothers and sisters from South Africa.

Rukara

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It is clear that Mr Rukara’s definition and understanding of the term “inflammatory” and mine are completely different. I believe I have in fact been extraordinarily restrained in light of the “afrophobic” provocations and the exceptional degree of ingratitude by black South Africans against their non-South African brethren.

Let us face reality head on, and stop calling a spade a big spoon. The current crop of South African “leaders” (for lack of a better fitting descriptor) believe they only share a continent with the rest of us, but that they are in fact superior to those north of the Limpompo whom, like their Apartheid predecessors, they consider undesirable savages—not to their own level of civilisation and social development.

This is the deep-seated anti-African prejudice and animus that inform the afrophobic statements of the likes of Jacob Zuma (“Don't think like Africans in Africa”, October 2013); his son, Edward (“South Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb of foreigners taking over the country”); the exceptionally misnamed King Goodwill Zwelitini (“Foreigners must be deported”) and many similar hateful declarations from other South Africans in influential positions.

If anything, I think we need to go further. Not to target South Africans on our territories to do to them what they are doing to fellow Africans in South Africa. That would be criminal and inhuman, and can never be justified even as payback.

Our governments should make Pretoria and its coterie of influential Aphrophobic nutcases realize that there will be costs to their anti-African prejudices. It would be scandalous in the extreme, for instance, were African heads of state to maintain Johannesburg as the venue of the 25th African Union summit.

In view of recent events, it would send a message that our leaders find nothing wrong with the torture, killing and looting of their nationals in a South Africa that, more than any other African country, owes its liberation to the sacrifices of the countries whose nationals they are killing and mistreating in various other ways.

I am sorry but I am not among those who wish to turn the other cheek.

Mwene Kalinda

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