At least ten people were reported dead in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
South Africa has once again in the midst of atrocious xenophobic violence killed innocent foreign African nationals.
Having begun in Durban and spread to Johannesburg, the hate attacks target Nigerians and other Africans living in the country and their businesses.
At the last count, ten foreigners were reported to have lost their lives in the attacks. Since South Africans liberated themselves from the clutches of apartheid government segregating the black population from the whites, the Rainbow nation has become a destination for immigrants from other African countries.
South Africa is far from being a safe haven for other Africans seeking greener pastures in the country of Madiba. Since 2008, when a string of attacks battered African immigrants, the country has cemented the perception that though the state sponsored apartheid has ended, the consequences of black population’s deprivation were a time bomb waiting to explode.
Between 2008 and 2015, South Africans have been attacking foreigners whom they accuse of stealing their jobs and women. In my opinion, the accusations are preposterous. How could a man steal a woman when relationship between two adults is supposed to be consensual?
Xenophobia is defined on Wikipedia as "deep-rooted, irrational hatred towards foreigners", combining the Greek xenos (foreign) with phobos (fear). In South Africa, we’ve come to understand it as the often violent dislike of foreigners, the “makwerekwere”.
Unfortunately, violence is not restricted to the so-called xenophobic hotspots, where localised competition for political and economic power is a trigger for violence. The vast majority of South Africans may not be driving out Somalis from their neighbourhoods, but xenophobic attitudes are more pervasive than many are ready to admit.
South Africa has a long history of subjugation of the indigenous black population. The state sponsored apartheid regime was designed to keep the blacks at the lower rung of the social order.
Apart from being viciously restrained from achieving parity with the whites in their homeland, the blacks could also not access such critical social amenity like education.
Their inability to receive education during apartheid has ensured that the generation of blacks has not acquired the skills necessary to successfully compete in a post-apartheid society. Today many young South Africans are uneducated and jobless.
Xenophobia persists when the refugees themselves do not get involved in community work. If there is a community crisis where help is needed, they look away as this is not their country.
The refugees must work with South Africans. They must not cling to themselves, but must open their minds and embrace South Africans. If they continue to alienate themselves from South Africans, Xenophobia will surely rise.