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South Africa: A Walk Through Memory Lane

 

xenophobia

Apartheid

Before 1994, South Africans had experienced an event that would leave them in shambles and attract the sympathy of the world. apartheid The segregation of the white minority who also controlled 85% of the nation’s resources told a revealing statistics, such that the name, South Africa became synonymous with the word, Apartheid.

Apartheid meaning apartness in Afrikaans, called for the separate development of the different racial groups in South Africa in 1948. On paper, it appeared to call for equal development and freedom of cultural expression, but the way they implemented it made this impossible. Apartheid made laws that forced the different racial groups to live separately and develop separately, and unequally too. It tried to stop all inter-marriage and social integration between racial groups. By racial groups, the highest percentage of the segregation is between whites and blacks.

During this period, apartheid affected the black community adversely. The education was a disaster, blacks had no access to social amenities. Also, there were mass killings which led to families separating and children became orphans.

It was this discrimination that led to the rise of a group called the African National Congress (ANC), formerly known as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC). Some of its members are some of South Africa’s heroes including Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu. It was this group that fought against apartheid till South African gained their independence. 

Nigeria’s Support During Apartheid Era

Africa, Nigeria, the giant of Africa and an independent nation, played a  prominent role by fully supporting the anti-apartheid era

During the apartheid era in South Africa, apartheid movements, including the African National Congress (ANC), which eventually led to dismantling the apartheid regime.

 At the height of the liberation movement in the 1970s, Nigeria provided $5-million annual subvention to the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) annually. This is asides attracting individuals such as Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Nigeria prime minister at this period,  who According to kataka.org, was the first leader to provide direct financial aid to the ANC from the early 1960s. That amount would be in the billions if converted at today’s rate.

Again, in 1976, Nigeria set up the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SAFR) destined to bring relief to the victims of the apartheid regime in South Africa, provide educational opportunities for them and promote the general welfare.

In recognition of their support, Nelson Mandela, president and liberator of South Africans, infamously said, they should appreciate Nigeria for their efforts in putting an end to apartheid. 

Present Day 

The South Africans, having gone through apartheid and felt the impact, would be the least expected to meet the same treatment on others, however, the reverse is the case. 

In recent times, there has been a continuous rise of xenophobic attacks from South Africans on other citizens who are termed ‘foreign nationals’. With the rise of rape, women deaths and attacks on businesses, the xenophobia in South Africa has become a cause of worry to celebrities and nationals alike. 

Xenophobia stems from hatred towards anything strange or foreign. It is a deep hatred towards foreigners in another place or country which isn’t theirs. Xenophobia arises when people feel that their rights to enjoy the government is being subverted by other people’s rights

 To give more clarity on the dangers of xenophobia, a 1998 Human Rights Watch report recorded that immigrants from Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique living in the Alexandra township were “physically assaulted over a period of several weeks in January 1995, as armed gangs identified suspected undocumented migrants and marched them to the police station to ‘clean’ the township of foreigners.” The campaign, known as “Buyelekhaya” (go back home), blamed foreigners for crime, unemployment and sexual attacks.

While there is a ravage of xenophobic attacks in the country, the attack in South Africa appears to be targeted at Nigerians and women.  They have killed Nigerians in droves in the past few years, there is a belief that Nigerians are dominating the economic sphere of South Africa. This has led to public outcries, fightbacks, and destruction of assets of Nigerians who live in South Africa.

This is even heightened by the Deputy Police’s statement, Bongani Mkongi, on the need to get rid of foreign nationals.

 

 

It does not leave celebrities out as there has been an exchange of words between both nationals.

And the Nigerian government being late to the party has made a little effort in pacifying her citizens going through the attacks. A statement has just been released after they have killed Nigerians in droves.

The sad reality of this is that while other countries are developing, Africans keep fighting and relegating, the case of South Africans is not only demeaning for the continent, Africa, it is also pathetic and if at this age, Africans are still here, growth, development, and improvement are feats that will be difficult to achieve.

It is high time the government woke up to their responsibilities and make the country habitable for the citizens. If people can access the different amenities, they get in places like South Africa, they will be eager to stay in Nigeria. This will boost the economic growth of the country. 

The government also need to speak out for their citizens when it is time to speak out, often, silence could be deafening, especially, when silence should be absent. When the government speaks and struggles for its citizens, the government will be respected and they will respect the citizens. 

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