We need to attack the xenophobic killing of our fellow African brothers and sisters differently. As a pan-Africanist, I can never be okay with the killing of my brothers and sisters, never. But on the ground and in reality, things aren’t always as they seem. The very same black South Africans who in 1994 thought their lives would change for the better were promised lies and a delusional dream of a rainbow nation. Black people were promised jobs, houses, a better economy and basic services.
Now blacks are fighting for those meagre few resources with fellow Africans because we live among each other, unlike with whites who we don’t encounter and fight with for resources. Yes, I agree, there are many illegal immigrants living in South Africa who do take part in criminal activities, drugs and so forth. Yes, there are illegal immigrants who don’t want to conform to the laws of our country, which is wrong and they must be dealt with.
But have you ever asked yourself why? When the rot at the top goes unchallenged and when police and law enforcement don’t do their job, there will always be a gap for opportunistic criminal activity.
If I, as a South African, due to desperate circumstances, leave my country in search of a better life and end up in Ghana or Nigeria, for example, and witness how there’s no order and how there’s a gap for criminal activity in order to survive, trust me, I’ll definitely partake in those activities.
As much as I try to understand the frustrations on the ground, the reality is that due to our colonised mentality, criminality still has a black face. Nobody talks about the BIGGEST drug dealers, human traffickers, fraudsters and criminals who come from Europe and are living in Bedfordview and Sandton, simply because we hardly see them. So it becomes easier to attack our brothers because we live and drink among them.
But this issue is not unique to South Africa – there have been incidents where fellow African countries have chased other fellow Africans away, for example, the “Ghana Must Go” campaign in Nigeria in 1983 which saw the expulsion of around one million Ghanaians. Remember the 100,000 Nigerians who were previously expelled by Ghana before that?
This issue needs to be dealt with by all African leaders. If we as Africans owned our continent, our land and the richness of this beautiful continent, if we used the money coming from our gold and minerals to build world-class cities, provide jobs, grow the economy and uplift our people, our brothers and sisters wouldn’t have to run away from the comfort of their own homes to go and survive in another country.
The problem is that we and our African brothers and sisters are fighting and killing each other for the same few resources and fighting for survival among ourselves on our OWN CONTINENT, while those who colonised us are living lavishly. DM
Modibe Modiba is a student at the University of South Africa