Xenophobia: The Politics Of Skin Tone

Why are people attacking foreigners in my country? What has taken hold of my countrymen & lead them to launch a savage rampage of murder & arson against innocent people whose only crime is that they were born in a different country? What is behind these xenophobic attacks? If the news feeds & Twitter & Facebook etc. are correct then the match was lit by none other than Shaka’s modern day successor King Goodwill Zwelithini (I wonder if his mom & Goodluck Jonathans moms where friends… interesting naming choices)

Now according to reports, The King of The Zulu Nation, paying no mind to the weight of his words or the ramifications of his rousing address, made sweeping statements about how foreigners where a threat to us all & that they needed to be removed. Now I’m sure he meant the illegal ones & the criminal element (looking at you my Nigerian brothers), but what he meant (in his head) & what he said to the Zulu Nation where not the same thing.

The one thing King Zwelithini seemed to forget was the one thing that made him making a speech worth any relevance at all… he is a king and the people he was addressing where his subjects. And not only was he addressing them, but because of this awesome thing called television & the other awesome thing called the newspaper & the internet & word of mouth… his words would echo around the country & be heard around the world. Now when you have such power & believe me, Zulu people do look up to their king, then it is your duty to use it wisely. I bet even Prince George knows that by now & he is a baby. Anyway, so basically King Zwelithini started a jihad & the streets of the affected areas are now covered in flames & blood.

But let’s take a look at this closely, because it is not the first time this is happening. We all know the story of South Africa. Racial oppression lead to inequality, inequality lead to a skewed economy in favour of the former superior race, skewed economy lead to poverty as a status quo for a vast majority of the populace & thus you have a South Africa where most black Africans live in informal settlements & overcrowded townships. Kind of like the favelas in Brazil. But not only are they economically hamstringed, but most of the pre 1994 generation living in the townships are not as educated as you and me. Really. You see the thing with apartheid that denialists refuse to accept is that it was not just about segregation. About being apart. It was a calculated effort to weaken what the then leaders saw as a slave race & ensure that they had less luxury, had no opportunities other than servitude, less nutrition so they could not develop physically to threaten the master race & where only educated enough to perform their duties.

Now the reason I highlight this & the relevance to the xenophobic jihad that is taking place, is that the effects of the slave breeding program that the Apartheid Reich was trying to perpetuate are still at play. 1994 was only 20 years ago & trust me, the mentality didn’t dissipate overnight. Thus we sit with a vast majority of the populace who are not part of the internet generation or rather “The Information Age”. And not only are they not part of the global community, but they have little to no electricity, less than limited resources & no means of hearing the news other than what the government tells them or their elders tell them (ahem! 60% majority…) We look at the bustling cities, the successful businesses, artists, sports stars & the overly eloquent & audaciously bombastic cadre of politicians that represent the public face of South Africa & think “wow… they really have come far.” But we forget to lift up the rug. The reason I am not out foreigner hunting & neither is anyone in the major cities, or anyone with a laptop or a tablet or a car or an occupation that requires any form of thought, is that on the one end are the literate & on the other the illiterate. On the one end are the rational & on the other end are the unrational.

I say unrational instead of irrational because the people on this xenophobic jihad or not doing it because they are murdering villains but because they believe they have been given the green light. Remember the general call for the “Good Hutus” to exterminate the “Tutsi Cockroaches”? Remember how one half of that country just went all Project Treadstone sleeper agent & started killing their neighbours because their leaders said they should? I wonder if Goodness, I mean Goodbye… Ag… I wonder if The Zulu King remembers that.

Buts let’s go back to why. So having accounted for the limited reasoning capacity inherent in these xenophobic jihadists, the limited access to information, the possibility that they still believe in the idea of one group being superior to the other & the fact that they live in overpopulated & underdeveloped areas… imagine what happens when you add foreigners to the mix?

South Africa, for all her troubles & idiosyncrasies is still seen as a bastion of peace in Africa. We are the little train that could & did & is doing it & to many a father or mother living in war-torn Africa, are the place where they feel they could run to, to give their kids a better life. Or at least a life less filled with fire & blood & death. We are the rainbow nation that holds the second highest population of Indians after… yes, India. We have Xhosa people, English people, Zulu people, Afrikaans people, Vendas, Tsongas, Sotho people, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Philippinos, Americans, Greeks, Portuguese people, Spaniards, Juliards (no wait, that’s a school not a country), Australians, Dutchmen, French people, Jewish people… actually the title rainbow nation is very apt (accept… where are the green people? Isn’t there green in the rainbow?) Anyway, we are a multi-racial & multi-cultural nation and for the most part we get along. Or so we would like to believe. But the funny thing is that were all other foreign nationals get accepted as tourists or Portuguese South Africans or Indian South Africans or Japanese South Africans or whatever, our fellow Africans are seen as foreigners. Makes me wonder, has the idea that black is inferior been perpetuated for so long that even black people measure their blackness by degrees?

The answer is actually Have you heard of a Yellowbone? Or a darkie coloured? Yes, we associate darker with inferior. But if let’s say 50% of the populace is poor (& I mean poor) the other 30% makes enough to rent a house get around, have minimal tech & the odd luxury annually & the final 20% has more wealth than the entire 80% could make in a lifetime & the bulk of the 50% is people of colour & the bulk of the 20% is the former master race… you are going to have a hard time getting rid of classism & building a culture of acceptance & unity & patriotism. We live in a society of prejudice & our policies of governance, social behaviours & even our news, literature, film, TV, music & advertising has continued to perpetuate the culture of superiority & in the onslaught of so much social apathy, arrogance, deceit, violence, corruption & injustice… even the most intelligent man would be hard pressed to maintain his views & behaviours. How much more someone who is easily influenced because they do not know any better? It’s a hard question. But the inescapable truth is regardless of all influence, we are meant to know right from wrong. Good from evil. And if there is one thing that is the manifestation of evil, it is slaughter. The murder of the innocent, the weak & the unarmed. That is what these xenophobic cowards have done. That is what they either are or have become. Evil. Murderers. And that is something they will have to live with & account for to their God/gods.

So what do you do? What do you do when the chickens come home to roost? What do you do when you have sown hate & the harvesting starts? Or even worse, what do you do when the world around you starts descending into anarchy? Do you sit idly by & shake your head? Do you shrug your shoulders & say “has nothing to do with me”? Do you wait till either you or yours becomes a victim? Till you are surrounded by a jeering mob, drunk on power & violence, throwing you with rocks, chanting for your death, beating you, cutting your limbs, spilling your blood, covering you with petrol/gas & set you alight to die an agonising, screaming death… do you wait till then before you realise the inhumanity of it all? Or do you take a stand & expose these beasts as false & seek justice for the victims & a solution to the anarchy?

The way I see it, we are all human beings & no one has the right to take the life of another. We are born to the earth before we are born to a country & we all want to live in peace & freedom. So we all have the responsibility to look out for each other & to not only strive for peace & freedom, but to protect it & each other. Maybe that makes me a liberal, but all I know is that we are all African & I say no to xenophobia.


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