Xenophobia, fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. This is a definition I have come to associate with South Africans in a while and lately Indians, whenever the word Xenophobia pops up on blogs, Facebook feeds, websites, newspapers my mind automatically goes to South Africa. Excuse my ignorance but the first attack meted out on Nigerians and other African immigrants by South Africans in 2015 exposed me to the word Xenophobia for the first time.
What could really be the reason why Africans will turn against Africans, why would South Africans of all Africans turn against Nigerians? How they forget, it is a pity Mandela is not around to remind them of life during the apartheid. The dominant attitude of Nigerians in their business sector was mentioned as a reason for the violence including drug peddling habits, other illegal business and the issue of women in South Africa who prefer the Nigerian man to the South African man.
I have always regarded South Africa with suspicion, even though I used to sing noisily along to Brenda Fassie’s songs my love for things about them started in the middle of 2014 when my Grandpa bought a decoder that shows nothing except Zambian and South African movies, music and shows. I knew about the Jozi music crew then, I was particularly fascinated with the fair-skinned dude among them, his eyes look funny with his shades off, this was the person I eventually mistook for AKA in 2016. 2016? I adored South Africa and their music the beautiful strong native voices, the accent and the sound of their names Nkothile? Manzi?. However the adoration was cut short with another onslaught by South African nationals who have been incited by a South African king to chase foreigners out of their country.
As I was saying, my suspicion for anything South Africa started when I read about the death of Lucky Dube in the papers, I didn’t know who Lucky Dube was but what caught my attention was the fact that the man who murdered Lucky Dube is a South African who said he did it because he thought Lucky Dube was a Nigerian. I guess he got the shocker of his life when he realized Lucky was his bro.
The death of Lucky Dube led to many revelations, and I learnt about how Nigerians aided South Africa in the fight against apartheid, Obasanjo lashed out at South Africans when the first xenophobic attacks in 2015 was made public and made reference to how Nigeria once “helped” South Africa. Well, people forget things don’t they? I wonder how Ghanaians would react to the news, as they were also ousted out of Nigeria in a fashion that is similar in the 90s which led to the popular saying “Ghana must go”. A period that made hundreds renounce their Ghanaian citizenship, some even drew Nigerian tribal marks on their cheeks so that they won’t be sent home.
Nigerians get treated like dogs and worse on the streets of South Africa, they get killed and slaughtered like cows and hens, multi million investments get razed and looted while our legislators fight over who would go to South Africa to address the issue with the South African government, they were more interested in the 5000 dollars and other pecks associated with the trip, what other reasons would make them desperate to travel to the same South Africa their fellow citizens were being mauled in? What is so special about this place?
The empty threats of boycotting DSTV, MTN, SHOPRITE and other businesses in Nigeria owned by South Africans has been tossed to the winds, nobody has the nerves to do that, Nigerians are good at saving faces, we would rather fight amongst ourselves than collectively fight the common enemy, which is why South Africa and other countries will continue to treat us like shit.
Our so-called leaders are busy fighting over witch-hunting and certificates, corrupt public officers lie and accuse detractors of trying to bring them down, the efforts of the judiciary get frustrated and everything and every charges gets fizzled out and dropped in the end! And we wonder why we are still treated like scums?
Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, IPOB, militants in Niger Delta, the Ife crisis get worse by the day while our leaders make half-hearted efforts to put things in order, every governor is interested in the Paris fund and other side picks, everyone can gore themselves to death for all they care, there is discrimination against Nigerians by Nigerians and we expect that not to be the case in another country?
India has sharpened it Xenophobic tools as well and there has been reports about maiming of Nigerian students by Indians, I read people’s comments online, some show strong disgust as they compare India with Nigeria and pronounce Nigeria better off, some also make reference to the discrimination of Indians by fellow Indians with the higher respect and attention paid to the people with the fairer skin and upper caste while those with darker skin get little or no respect, this is true considering the way dark-skinned Indians are portrayed in their movies as villain, thugs, rapists, murderers, servants, drivers or clowns.
The special treatment of Indians in Nigeria by bankers and other office workers was mentioned, how bank cashiers are always willing to attend to the needs of the Indian man or woman at the detriment of the Nigerian. Could it still be the skin issue? The immense awe that is felt by the black person when in close proximity with the white person and someone with a fairer skin tone while the one with the coal skin bemoans her’s? Nigerians don’t even need you to be white, you can be pale pink, yellow, light brown or tan. They will kiss your butt and wash it clean with their saliva! Isn’t that part of the reason why we smuggle ourselves into their countries and refuse to leave even with the threats of death?
It’s like the whole world is fighting with Nigeria, some citizens were returned to Nigeria few weeks ago from Libya, some have complained bitterly about how they were denied entry into the US, some suffer from attacks in South Africa and India while others are rotting away in Malaysian jails.
What is wrong with us?
Why do we seem to be having it all wrong at this point? Why does it seem like Nigeria is now a joke to the world? Why do other countries see Nigeria as a dog without teeth that can do nothing except woof woof woof? When will the lives of the average Nigerian be important to the Nigerian government? When will Nigeria be stable enough to prevent it people from running to other countries in the quest for greener pastures?
The sooner the problem is solved the better, because it seems the world is rejecting us.
Your thoughts are welcome.