Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Thami

As a South African born and bred in this country, it terrifies me that, we who had been terribly affected by the apartheid regime, turn around and involve ourselves in this barbaric act of physically causing harm to our fellow African brothers; emotionally abusing children and raping women who had done so much to rid this country of the apartheid regime. During our struggle we spoke and advocated for human rights which we continue to violate even in the new dispensation. Such hypocrisy should not be tolerated!

The phenomenon that the politicians in this country have adopted is another cause for concern. The ruling party had been alerted of the looming attacks on the foreign national and as always instead of been pro-active they chose to be reactive. This has sprung out of control that they are struggling to contain, have we forgotten about our pledge to protecting and respecting human rights? Such fickle turn of events. Just like they had done on other issues like the electricity crisis, just like the initial attacks on the Somali nationals in the townships of Cape Town, before they even spread to Gauteng, they resorted to the keeping mum strategy.

That was evident when I watched and listened to radio and television interviews where they had been invited to speak on the xenoprejudice attacks. The lack of political compassion is proving to detrimental to the wellbeing of the foreign nationals.

The most disturbing piece for me was of a man who was burnt alive in some of the newspaper reports as that had a terrible flashback of the time when there was an internal fighting during the 1994 post apartheid era. I had to relive that and having witnessed that as a child of about 9, I had concluded that nobody irrespective of who or where the person comes from, they don’t deserve such ill treatment. Have we leant so little that we continue to rape and turn children to orphans?

Why are we using refugees as a weapon to fight our battles with government who had failed to fulfil the promises they had made? This has nothing to do with foreign nationals taking our jobs as some have claimed is about the government failing to provide appropriate service delivery, creating jobs and elevating poverty; this is a backlash/retaliation against the government for failing the people. Watching 3rd degree last week made realise just how our politicians continue to drag their feet in bringing stability and putting an end to the whole revolt solely because they know that they are the ones that are hugely responsible for this. Has a human life become such so worthless that it’s easy to end a life? One Mozambican national got his head chopped off in the area that I live in, is that what we want to teach our children to treat other human beings?

he least said about the media coverage the better. It concerns me to have such biased reporting and perpetuating such stereotypes about foreign nationals. Some of the reporting was constantly referring to the refugees as aliens, doesn’t that sound a lot like the same segregating names used that led to racism, classism and tribalism, all the names that have been used to degrade other nationals who are not considered to be native to the country in which they live.

The closest I had gotten to the incidences was when I was working in the Lawley, at rank the Lenasia rank where I was using to commute to and from the trainings that I was conducting, a handful of taxi drivers attacked one guy who is a South African who just happened to be dark in skin colour. They physically assaulted him and it was pathetic to witness S.African women ululating to glorify such acts. They later discovered that he was a Xitsonga speaking South African after he was rescued by the police. If these attacks are about the skin colour, do we now treat people differently and condemning them to death? A personal reflection that brings tears to my eyes as I write this, what about the innocent lives of children, it really is a sad state of affairs that every South African should feel ashamed of.

The truth is from the inside out, not from the outside in, let’s interrogate our hearts and think about what our role is to the wellbeing of the African continent and its people.

South Africa is part of Africa and Africa belongs to everyone living in her comfort.

Let’s stop these senseless and baseless attacks and killings and fight these demons who continue to commit such horrendous crimes against humanity…