African Politics

IS SOUTH AFRICA PLOTTING XENOPHOBIA AS AN ECONOMIC TOOL?

It is paramount to understand that the recent looting of businesses and destruction of properties belonging to foreign nationals living in South Africa, especially black Africans and particularly Nigerians has been ongoing for decades. Experience and history has thought us that hatred of one’s kind be it a black or white mankind is deeply correlated with a people’s desire for economic gains. 

A former Nigerian ruler once said that when an insurgency lasts for more than 24hours in a country, that government has interests. As much as I have tried to justify that this could possibly be an act from economically frustrated South African citizens, the part played by the government to aid this atrocious acts is as obvious as the looting, destruction and killings itself.  

Isn’t it ironic that after the Africa Free Trade Agreement has been signed by 54 out of 55 nations and Africans seem ready to allow free movement of people, goods and services, the second largest economy in Africa begins to blame small business owners from other black African nations for their economic, environmental and social cultural issues. 

Are we saying that one or maybe more countries might not be in support of the Africa Free Trade Agreement and they do not support the unification of Africa in terms of people and trade? or Are we saying these countries are in support of the agreement but have begun putting in place strategies they think will protect their national interests and resources? Or do they think this strategies will help them build more competitive advantage over other African Nations in some way? 

I once had a personal experience with the immigration/customs on a very short 4 day trip to South Africa about 7 years ago. As a person who has had the privilege to visit various countries on every continent across the globe, the first impression of South Africa for me was one of corruption. I was delayed at the airport for 4 hours for no reason after which I had to tip 50$. I’d use the word tip just to lighten up the situation. 

After I was asked to pay, I asked the officer if he had kept me in arrest for 4hours because of a 50$ tip? The officer flared up in anger and created a scene, claiming I disrespected him with my innocent question. Other officers pleaded with him and he eventually allowed me to proceed into the country properly. Just to note, the room we were delayed in was full of Nigerians. Some of whom were held back for normal protocol verifications reasons and others like myself for no reason. 

This is not to say that there is no worse corruption in Nigeria or any other country in the world. The Nigerian Government and the Nigerian people have a part to play by propagating positive messages about its people to the world. Nigerians have become very easy targets for other countries to prey on because we are fond of preying on ourselves too. But in all the countries I have visited, I have not seen Nigerians treated with such derogatory manner. Not even in countries that have solid proof of crimes committed by few Nigerians in their countries. 

To wrap up, I will like to put forward that there is an underlying story that South Africans are telling themselves as a people on the reasons for their economic, environmental and social cultural issues which to the best of my knowledge is fundamentally wrong. We can go on and on debating what this story is for days and nights but whatever this story is, it is critical that a new narrative be told to the South African populace for the progress of their country and future generations in Africa. 

#TundeSpeaks

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