Afrophobia illogical and nonsensical
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