May 22, 2008
South Africans need to grow up


The wave of violence engulfing South Africa, including the targeting of foreigners from other African countries, is worrying and embarrassing.

More so given the fact that during the Apartheid era, many black South Africans not only sought refuge but also trained as fighters and lived happily in several neighbouring countries.

They relied mainly on the goodwill of the African solidarity (Pan-Africanism) to fight the Apartheid regime and regain their freedom.

Many of the African National Congress (ANC) guerilla fighters trained in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and other African countries. They were never segregated against, even when the Apartheid regime tried to mount pressure on those countries to expel the South African fighters and refugees.

So why are South Africans who were welcomed with open hands in other countries now turning their anger and weapons against their African brothers and sisters? Why this sudden xenophobic rage? Why do they find it difficult now to live with Zimbabweans or Ugandans?

One would have expected that since Zimbabweans are in trouble now, South Africans would be more than willing to return the favour.

The argument that foreigners are displacing them from their jobs does not hold water. South Africa has attracted a lot of foreign investment which in turn has provided employment to its nationals.

And some of those who were attacked are investors who had already established their own business from which their government levies taxes; they also employ local South Africans!

As a matter of fact, most work permits are issued to those foreigners who have exceptional competences that South Africans lack. And the South African trade unions are very vigilant in securing jobs for the nationals.

South Africa earns about Shs $7.3 billion every year from tourism; the bulk of these tourists are foreigners who are fascinated by the rainbow nation’s history.

Besides, the world has become a global village, where one should be able to move and sell their labour and skills any where in the world without being hindered by the accident of birth.

To segregate against one on account of where they were born is not only primitive but also out of touch with world trends.

Black South Africans need to grow up and learn to live with others!