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Published On: Sun, May 14th, 2017

How South Africans Soon Forgot

By Caleb Adiga Zadok

Xenophobia in South Africa

When South Africa was in her troubled waters, Nigeria and indeed other African countries stood by her to ensure she gets out of the trouble waters, to see to the end of Apartheid. It was so brutal that it claimed so many lives and others were jailed in the process, the likes of Late Nelson Mandela et’al. During this period, African leaders mounted pressure on the P. W. Bother regime to end apartheid and to hand over power so that South Africans can govern themselves.

Nigeria, being the giant of Africa stood and fought tooth and nail to see to the end of that wicked regime. I remember the government of then Head of State Ibrahim badamasi Babangida was committed to seeing that this happened. It was not only that, so much funds were committed to this particular task to see that one of us was liberated from oppression. According to a Twitter handle I found this morning while @know_Nigeria, Nigeria contributed over $60 billion from 1974 to 1994 just to end apartheid in South Africa, not to mention what other African Nations had contributed. I also remember when I was in the secondary school in the late 80’s, we wrote on top of our blackboards the following inscription: “Apartheid is a crime against humanity.” Almost any school you went to and any class you entered you will definitely see this inscription.

It was a way of registering our solidarity with South Africa, Standing with South Africa believing they are our brothers and as such they need to be independent and that their oppressors need to bring their oppression to an end. Infact, the government then made it in such a way all citizens participated by this act. There was no social media then; I believe if there were, the South African Independence would have been sooner than it was. I believe if there were social media, we would have deployed explored and harnessed its potency by deploring it to this very cause using hashtags such as “#IstandWithSouthAfrica, or #EndApartheidNow! etc. which would to an extent weaken the hand of their oppressors. But the only social media we had then to protest was our own blackboards in schools while the conventional media were doing their own thing from their own end. Other nations of the world too contributed their own quota including Russia which assisted the Africa National Congress (ANC) to win elections for the first time and still dominates the politics of the country from 1994.

What went wrong?

South Africa having gained her independence, how could she have forgotten all these sacrifices? All is forgotten, South Africans are turning against their brothers, killing, maiming, breaking their shops and looting their properties in what is known as Xenophobia! What a shame! A shame not only to those perpetrating this dastardly act, but a shame to South African Government itself and will be embedded in their conscience. The irony of this is that, this has gone into history, how they will clear themselves of this is based known to them.

Xenophobia in South Africa

How South Africans soon forgot history! It seems to me that history is not taught in South African Schools. The killing of any human being under whatever guise is highly condemn-able! It is barbaric, Shameful and it is animalistic and should be condemned by all reasonable human beings. More worrisome is the role of the South African Police, their inability to protect foreigners as they watch their nationals harassing, assaulting others helplessly and they couldn’t do anything to stop them. I know the South African ambassador has condemned these acts, but they should move beyond mere condemnation to ensuring that somebody pays for his crimes committed. The South African government also stated that arrests have been made and they are investigating the matter. While we await that, it is in the interest of South African government to respect the bilateral relations it has with Nigeria and prove that they loathe and detest these dastardly acts, more so, need I remind them that there are a lot of South African businesses which ordinarily wouldn’t have thrived well in South Africa but are now thriving well in Nigeria, any step taken against these businesses will have a devastating effect on South Africans. It is also important that the two governments work together to nib it in the bud before we start getting reprisals which may be catastrophic. South Africans really need to go back to history.

In view of this, it is obligatory for South African government to take urgent action to stem this tide failure which may result to reprisals which may be disastrous for Africa and what we stand for. It is also my call to the South African government that they take cogent action to address the issue of unemployment in their country as no one else can do it for them. It is a shame that this barbaric attitude is being displayed in our continent. We are a proud people, we have values and must not forget our values in the eyes of the world. Africa is a great continent and we must do whatever it is to ensure it remains great. Finally, South African government must make sure they find the perpetrators of this dastardly act and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent before it becomes a precedence.



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