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Xenophobia attack on Nigerians …A shame within

By Alphonsus Effi

South Africa had always being a land of turbulence amidst all her riches. This rich endowed country in Africa can be acclaimed with the most stable legal and financial system in the continent likewise a land of great beauty and natural riches such as Diamond, Coal, Gold, and Uranium. Conversely, her history and strive for freedom through independence has been full of struggles, slavery and political terrorism perpetrated by tribal wars and the greed of the British and Dutch colonialists who came to South Africa in the century to make their fortunes at any cost.
The struggle for independence was fierce and enormous which cumulated in the defeat of apartheid. This cosmopolitan country was lucky to have a union called, the Africa Nations Congress (ANC), which was the core union that fought to verify all the cultures to the advantage of the independence effort. The motto “one nation, many culture” strives to unite multiple cultures that speaks 11 of the main languages spoken in South Africa.
South Africa, was colonised by Holland, British and France. In 1652, JAN VAN RIEBEAK, a Dutch citizen founded, TABLE BAY, a settlement in South Africa likewise many Europeans have tried to settle in south Africa but was driven by the NATIVE PEOPLE. The route to Asia, around the cape of good Hope made many Europeans interested in colonising South Africa. The Dutch east India company was able to establish shipping routes and became permanently established in South Africa. By 1869, the French colonist had built a canal across the isthmus of the Suez. In 1884 and 1885, most Europe countries met in Berlin conference to plan the division of the South African part of Africa. Thus, 90% of Africa was sheared among the European colonialists. Hence, the experience of blacks in Africa, especially
Southern Africa became terrible, hence, forty years after, the black majority population in this region were fired from their jobs, stripped of their lands, and their rights to vote and be voted for. Black Mine workers were paid far less than their white counterparts. Great political unrest became order of the day, violence, burning of villages and segregation of blacks and whites led to boycotts and riots. To control the violence, the white majority government created APARTHEID laws, which separated the non-white population for the white minority.
Opposition leaders were beaten, jailed for striking or demonstrating against the obnoxious rule.
Anyhow, during this era of violent strives for freedom, many answered the clarion call to rebel and reclaim their nation. Thus, in 1952, Nelson Mandela and Tambo Mbeki opened the first black law firm in South Africa. In 1956, Nelson Mandela was charged with high Treason but not found guilty, regardless, was still sent to jail for life for denouncing the cruelty of Apartheid. He became a hero for South Africa who carried out his work despite the threat of death and prison.
Mandela, was eventually released from prison after 28 years in 1990. He was awarded the Nobel price for “Peace” in 1993 for his tireless work to free South Africans from Racism and SEGEGATION. He was ultimately elected as the first black president of South Africa in a democratic election in 1994 after a very costly struggle for independence. In 1960, over seventy people were killed in the SHARPVILLE MASSCRE. In 1974, South Africa was expelled from the UNITED NATIONS because of APARTHEID regime.
Two years later, six hundred students were brutally killed in the SOWETO township protest. Likewise, STEVEN BIKO, a national leader against Apartheid was killed in prison while reports had it he died of ‘hunger strike’. By 1990, white president DE KLERK, realised that majority of black would continue to create violence and decided to lift the ban which outlawed the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS.
Four years later, Mandela was president and the struggle for independence in South Africa was over. Today there is still great unrest, inequality and power struggles between nations. Brutal leadership, still abound in this African continent.
Black Africans still do not trust themselves and are still exalting Xenophobic sentiments amongst each other especially in this same South Africa where virtually the whole of Africa/the World especially Nigeria supported relentlessly their liberation struggles against Apartheid until 1994 when they finally gained independence. Recently, a few weeks back, a new spate of Xenophobic attack in South Africa erupted. Culminating in the calling of politicians and citizens alike, encouraging the South African government to act decisively to prevent further violence.
Nigeria’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama, expressed his dis-appointment at the attacks which also targeted Nigerians living in South Africa. “Received sickening and depressing news of Africa by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection”, he wrote “Enough is enough” and reiterated after with the word, “Abuja would take “definitive measures”. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who was invited and expected in Capetown on 4th September, 2019 to attend his African edition of the World Economic Forum said he would send his envoy to South-Africa to discuss the issue. Immense pressure is grew at home for him to take a decisive action on the Xenophobic matter in South-Africa. Former Presidential candidate Oby Ezekwesili also called on her TWITTER for decisive intervention by the government enthusing that “the” maiming and killings have gone on for too long without effective response. The bilateral relations with South Africa is troubled. It is time to be candid.
In fact, resentment has been growing frantically between both nations owing to the magnitude of attacks against
Immigrants in South Africa. The National Association of Nigerian Students, spearheaded protests that involved the picketing of South African companies operating in Nigeria. Likewise, the NAMBIANS who arranged massive burn fire protests in front of s
South African embassy in HARARE. With these trends, a lot of affected African countries who had their citizens molested, lynched, maimed and properties looted are complaining massively and threatening to severe relationship diplomatically with South Africa. Honestly, South Africa as an African nation is the least expected in Africa to have her citizenry behave in the manner they have behaved {xenophobic} to follow African immigrants in their enclave. This is a country that suffered terribly from white ministry rule called apartheid and had virtually the whole Africa {O.A.U} and Nigeria in particular spearheading the condemnation of this obnoxious efforts of the white minority rulers. It’s like the proverbial adage which says “biting the finger that fed you” considering the effort of Africans and blacks all over the world toward the successful independence of south Africa, it is honestly appalling that such xenophobic reciprocation was the “thank you” nationals of south Africa (Blacks) was meting out on fellow blacks. Imagine Nigeria, granting scholarship to many young South African to study in Nigeria when they were under the apartheid regime {White minority} this violent approach to solving internal issues of this magnitude against foreigners, threatens to naturally destabilise relations with other African countries .
Zimbabwe’s government spokesperson, Mr Nick Mangwana was alleged to had claimed that he expected the South African government to protect the immigrants but also warned Zimbabweans “if you are going in a place where there are criminals you have to be cautious, sensible and responsible” whereas officials in Lusaka reacted with outrage after Zimbabwe truck drivers were attacked in South Africa as well according to the national broadcaster ZNBC. Information and broadcasting services permanent secretary, Chanda Kasolo pronounced the events “unfortunate and barbaric” and proclaimed further that South Africa authorities “should have taken charge of the situation”.
Severing relationship with South Africa diplomatically by the African countries remains a major treat under the dispensation. Nigerian for example had withdrawn her ambassador from South Africa, even arrangement of flying affected and stranded Nigerians from south Africa to Nigeria was done swiftly by governmental and philanthropists who released air craft’s and other means to convey victims home. However, the greatest lesson from this xenophobic experience for all concerned is that countries should endeavor to develop their economy handsomely within their limitations, to discourage unnecessary migration by their indigenes by way of “brain-drain” or whatever means. A country like Nigeria in every ramification has the economic capacity if well utilized, than to have her citizens migrating en-masse to foreign nations, especially South Africa.