South Africa is a country blessed with abundance of natural resources including fertile farmlands and unique mineral resources. South African mines are world leaders in the production of diamonds and gold as well as strategic metals such as platinum.
However, all these riches are owned by a collection of people who originated from Europe popularly known as the Boers. It is in fact believed that more than 90% of the land is still owned by the white minority in South Africa. Yet very little progress has been made in terms of land redistribution.
Consequently, the black South Africans have failed to understand why they remain poor in such a rich environment. They fail to understand who is responsible for their poverty.
I can read between lines of those peasants who are involved in ugly conflicts and violence and see that they do not know why they are poor.
It is true that black South Africans achieved political freedom after the apartheid era but it is not true that they have yet gained economic freedom. In fact they are still in a ‘moon to earth distance.’
Tens of thousands of new black job seekers enter the labour market each year, and hence unemployment rate continue to rise.
Blacks have not at all, got the so called economic freedom. If you take all walks from the capital city, Pretoria to Kwazul Natal province, you will notice abnormal differences in people’s lifestyles and livelihoods.
Pretoria is actually dominated by the rich whites whereas as Kwazul Natal is dominated by poor blacks. They live in two different worlds and I am convinced that a black South African travelling to Pretoria may not be different from any other foreigner from a remote part of Africa.
Many unprivileged blacks, see places like Pretoria as foreign and the unfortunate part of it, is that, it is blamed on immigrants from neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa.
That is why for example, they attack and loot shops of immigrants in Pretoria and other cities of the country. But no body dares to touch the white man’s shop!
This could be attributed to many reasons among which are; one that the whites are South Africans( which is true) and therefore should not be targets as whatever they do is their right and two, that they cannot even access where whites operate their business.
Certainly the exorbitant prices too, prohibit most black people from shopping in white shops. They thus rarely meet them and only the high class blacks do.
I therefore blame less the black South Africans when they attack black immigrants. They think all the riches have been taken by foreigners!
They are however completely misguided as most of the black immigrants are lower class people who make no difference in economic terms.
The economy of South Africa is virtually in the hands of whites who ruled that country for years when the blacks had no say and were marginalised to the lowest levels possible in their own country.
The whites own industries, factories, etc and are not even far from the politics of the country, a thing that gives them great advantage over the blacks. I am not calling for white- black conflict but what I am saying is that if the blacks want to know why they are poor, they should revisit their history.
The South African government of course played its politics right and left most of the land and economies in the hands of those who handled it for ages. It would have been disastrous for the country, if the ANC decided to make an immediate change in favour of the blacks. They would not have been able to manage the economy of the country (owing to their background) and the whites would have caused chaos typical of the Zimbambwe one, hence putting the economy of the country in shambles.
What is needed is a slow, but steady transition that does not aim at taking the whites’ property but at integrating the blacks into the socio-economic system of the country.
It is high time the ‘blacks’ of South Africa came out of the dilemma and get the right way forward. The way forward does not call for violence against black immigrants. Why should they be desperate to that extent? I hope leaders and elite blacks who are now in millions will guide peasants towards the right direction.