Afro­pho­bia il­log­i­cal and non­sen­si­cal

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THE cur­rent spates of trou­bling xeno­pho­bic at­tacks in South Africa have shocked the world over, par­tic­u­larly fel­low Africans. There has been a strong con­dem­na­tion of the at­tacks by an­tag­o­nists of xeno­pho­bia, and even more wor­ry­ing there have been pro­po­nents of the at­tacks in the public dis­course.

While a lot has been said about th­ese at­tacks, this opin­ion ar­ti­cle seeks not to dis­cuss the crux of the pro- and anti-xeno­pho­bic nar­ra­tive since many peo­ple have al­ready ex­pressed their opin­ions on the mat­ter al­ready.

The fo­cus of this sub­mis­sion, there­fore, is to look at the deeper so­ci­etal re­la­tions, of which xeno­pho­bia is only a symp­tom of. I also in­tend to de­mys­tify the con­cept of na­tion­al­ism in Africa.

The point of de­par­ture would be to de­fine xeno­pho­bia. Sim­ply put, it ba­si­cally means ha­tred and/or fear of for­eign na­tion­als in a par­tic­u­lar coun­try.

How­ever, the con­text and na­ture of the at­tacks in South Africa go be­yond that. It can­not be deemed as mere xeno­pho­bia be­cause most, if not all, of the vic­tims of the at­tacks are African mi­grants.

Mi­grants of Euro­pean and Amer­i­can de­scent were not at­tacked as most of them live far away from the melee in the leafy sub­urbs of Sand­ton, Camps Bay, La Lu­cia, and so on.

So the na­ture and con­text of th­ese xeno­pho­bic at­tacks can best be de­scribed as Afro­pho­bia. This means that it is a fear and/or ha­tred of Africans by fel­low Africans.

At­tached to the Afro­pho­bia is a class com­po­nent re­sult­ing in the at­tacks. Be­cause in the same to­ken, well off Africans who are priv­i­leged, high earn­ing pro­fes­sion­als, and/or own­ers of big busi­nesses living in plush ar­eas are not vic­tims of th­ese fore, it goes to show that an attack on African mi­grants from other “coun­tries” is il­log­i­cal and non­sen­si­cal to say the least.

In con­clu­sion, there are cer­tain re­me­dial ac­tions that can be taken to ad­dress the scourge of Afro­pho­bia.

While not ex­haus­tive, we can start some­where and per­haps those with bet­ter means can come up with more prag­matic so­lu­tions. The first thing we must do is throw­ing away with this false na­tion­al­ism cre­ated by im­pe­ri­al­ists.

We must un­der­stand that we are one as Africans, and that in­forms our iden­tity as a peo­ple. For ex­am­ple, I con­sider my­self an African first be­fore I re­gard my­self as a Mosotho. Se­condly, we need to stop the poor from vent­ing their frus­tra­tion on other poor peo­ple.

The com­mon en­emy we have as Africans are im­pe­ri­al­ist coun­tries and their co­horts in the form of multi-na­tional com­pa­nies. An equal en­emy is a fel­low African who thinks it is bet­ter to fight on the side of the im­pe­ri­al­ists to gain pa­tron­age than fight on the side of the poor Africans.

Lastly the cen­tral mes­sage is that of sol­i­dar­ity. Sol­i­dar­ity sim­ply means not turn­ing a blind eye to some­thing evil just be­cause it is not hap­pen­ing to you. And his­tory has taught us that no African has ever been im­mune to re­pres­sion. In the words of Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the So­cial­ist, and I did not speak out – be­cause I was not a So­cial­ist. Then they came for the Trade Union­ist, and I did not speak out — be­cause I was not a Trade Union­ist. Then they came for the Jews, I did not speak out — be­cause I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

#Noafro­pho­bia God Bless Africa!

Xeno­pho­bic at­tacks are merely a symp­tom of a false sense of African na­tion­al­ism, opines the writer

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