Trouble At The Kraal Of The Zulu King
IN spite of whatever Alaba has said about African countries not allocating political roles to the descendants of African kings in today’s African States, these kings still pull a lot of weight. Unfortunately most of the time it is the wrong pull. Most of the time, it is a deadly pull.
The king of Lagos let it be known to the supposed foreigners of Lagos, particularly the Igbo who had taken time to pay him a courtesy call in the season of elections that Osa (the Lagos Lagoon) will engineer the drowning of any of them who will vote against his preferred candidate. He later denied that he said so.
His spokespersons said he said something else. Those present said that he was making a joke, entertaining his visitors who are his friends. The Igbo community in Lagos and in the larger Nigeria has taken the matter to the Human Rights Commission for a look at.
To linger a little on the Igbo in Lagos we must remember the fictional Umofia Progressive Union and its take on the role of the Igbo in Lagos. We are strangers in this town, their chairman prays at the end of their meeting.
If good comes to this town let us have our share. But if evil comes let it go to the natives who know what gods to placate. In case anyone is wondering where this incident takes place, it is in Chinua Achebe’s NO LONGER AT EASE. Thank the gods our process of socialization at least in Lagos has gone to the point where a person of Igbo descent is a commissioner in Lagos State. This experience would teach us that just as the traditional rulers have no political roles in the modern African State, the citizens should not be allowed to see themselves in any part of the state as strangers.
Long before 1994 many Africans came to South Africa to work and settle in the then bantustans, especially teachers and nurses and doctors. At the same time the apartheid government of the time also encouraged whites from Europe to come and boost the white population. After 1994 the process continued with Africans and Europeans coming to the new South Africa.
The political economy of African countries was being destroyed by political strive including civil wars across the African continent while the final breakup of the Soviet Union led to political and economic instability which also drove many Europeans to come to South Africa.
Somehow, the European strangers who have come to South Africa have remained invisible to South Africans, black and white. Only the black African ‘strangers’ have been visible.
They have been visible because many of them are criminals, according to the King of the Ama-Zulu. The minister of police affairs of South Africa agrees with the King. And the reason they take to crime so quickly and easily is that they are not documented, unlike all South Africans with their ID book. This means that they cannot be traced when they commit crimes.
So, the Zulu King, whose full name is King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, advised the strangers, called derogatively, amakwere-kwere. This would translate as those whose tongue (language) is so twisted it has no meaning.
Once the king has advised them to leave, South Africans of Zulu origin living in the various townships such as KwaMashu where these strangers are to be found began to help them to pack and leave South Africa. This was done by burning and looting their shops and their dwellings and finally killing them.
Many of the shops burned and looted belong to Somali traders. It is perhaps because of this that The Government of Somali is the first African Government to begin the process of identifying, rescuing and repatriating their citizens in South Africa back to Somali. In the mean time, like the case of the King of Lagos, the king has denied that he said what he said and that he did not ask for strangers to be killed.
Many people who speak the language insist that is what the king said. Anyway, that is how his subjects with a question mark understood what they heard from him.
As one radio presenter asked: if the king had not spoken would there have been attacks on African foreigners? There is no doubt that many foreigners, white and black are involved in crime in South Africa, like in any other country. But many South African indigenes also do crime.
In many cases these outlaw business people co-operate to achieve their ends – black, white, foreigner and native all together. Over the years the South African Police Service, in spite of challenges has scored spectacular points against crime, especially economic crimes including those related to drugs and human trafficking.
It is, therefore, a sign that we are getting to a boiling point in the country in terms of resource allocations when the king says something like foreigners are responsible for crimes.
And the king’s subjects interpret this to mean they should kill the foreigners in their midst. Whether the Zulu king likes it or not driving out African Foreigners out of South Africa, or driving them out of the world by killing them will never put a stop to crime in South Africa or anywhere else in the world.
Only the development of infrastructure in each African country can resolve the conflict of many Africans fighting to death over smaller yanna portions, not even enough for a baby. More specifically, transport infrastructure is perhaps the fastest way to get Africans to know one another, know one another’s story and so bear with one another. Those traditional rulers without any space to rule should re-define their roles and stop making statements they do not make. Especially statements they cannot unmake. Kole Omotoso. 13/04/2015