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Islam, Xenophobia and the Madness in South Africa – Part I

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Xenophobia in South Africa

Kindly note that reference to South Africa above is only for its contemporaneity and currency not that the subject matter of xenophobia, is and could be delimited to the country of Nelson Mandela.

Nor did I mean to say that xenophobia is the only socio-cultural virus or madness from which so-called ‘modern’ societies of today are suffering.

In other words, hardly is there a country in the world today that is free one variant of madness or the other.

In Nigeria, kidnap of compatriots for money and abduction of innocent people for money rituals has become a fad among a section of the Nigerian youth who wants to reach for the stars without sweating.

Is it not an acute form of madness for a man who rides a saloon car to head to the jungle in search of an herbalist who will increase his material capital even as the said spiritualist is manacled in austerity and acute deprivation? Is it not a form of madness for someone who has been privileged to be the president of his country for nothing less than twenty six years only for him to refuse to vacate power even as citizens continue to demand either for his removal or resignation? How would you describe the decision of a man who is seventy five years old and who is still hell bent on holding his country to ransom in the belief that unless he dies in power he would not leave power?

Is it not a form of madness for a select group of people in the so-called free world to hold tenaciously to the notion of white supremacy and to be prepared to kill and maim in its defense?

How would you describe his deployment of his country’s meagre national resources into the development of weapons of mass destruction at a time Koreans are suffering from abject poverty?

Brethren, I was wondering which of these typologies of madness in our world could be said to be the most potent, highly contagious and cantankerous until compatriots began to post videos of the murder of foreigners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other parts of south Africa on the social media. As it is in intertextual practice, it felt as if one form of madness is and has given life life and strength to other varieties of madness such that madness now become fad, a fashion!

Or how might you describe the indulgence in these unwarranted murder by some South Africans of those Africans from Zimbabwe and Nigeria simply because the latter gave free rein to their creativity and industry and are making it in life, far away from their country of origin? How might you characterize the trend in Soweto and Johannesburg other than indulgence in madness? In those cities young and able-bodied South-Africans have chosen to live life on the margin, engage and turn round to blame their fellow Africans for their unfortunate circumstance and situation? Is it not insensate, roguish and imbecilic for some in South Africa to think that it is by killing the other that the self that had been manacled in lethargy and docility would be set free?

But just before I began to ponder the above more closely, I was struck by another form of ‘madness’ in our world presently. This is a ‘madness’ made possible by the “WhatsApp”- the ‘craze’ to post anything and everything on any platform. No matter how noble the original reason for launching the platform ab initio, such reason or objective is usually quickly sacrificed for the slippages and the occasional loss of self-discipline.

Thus it came to pass couple of days ago, that the platform where execrable images of the madness of xenophobia first came my way was a platform that had nothing do with diplomacy or the diaspora.

The video was posted innocuously, without any accompanying message or messages. As soon as I clicked on it, I could not believe the inhumanity that was unfolding in the video for me to behold. I had to quickly delete the message out of fear of losing my humanity and of becoming desensitized to values that define me and structure my rationality. It was simply gory.

In other words, I pooh-poohed the images, first, because they do not serve any positive purpose particularly that of stopping the atrocities in that country.

Second, Islam disapproves of circulating images that exemplify indecencies and atrocities such as the one on xenophobia attacks in South Africa. Such images reinforce stereotypes about continental Africa. It reifies the assumption that this continent would remain in the abyss until the next millennium.

To be continued next week


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