The Scribe Unveiling the Xenophobia Conspiracy by Takudzwanashe Mundenga
Following the supposed remarks by King Goodwill Zwelithini at the end of March, approximately 250 persons have been attacked, generally from the Democratic Republic of Congo while more than 1 000 African migrants have fled their homes, some going to the police stations and others being accommodated in tents in the sports field. In the same vein, the South African President Jacob Zuma’s son, came out in full backing of the king’s alleged comments. “We need to be aware that as a country we are sitting on a ticking time bomb,” Edward Zuma said, adding that foreigners were “taking over the country.”
The government of South Africa and its oppositional wings is performing below average to abate the renewed xenophobic violence. We last heard of Julius Malema condemning the Marikana Incident and the Nkandlagate Scandal which is right. Now where is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Black Easter? In a broad spectrum, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) are in stony silence, apparently condoning the heinous genocide of foreign nationals flaring up in townships of Africa’s second youngest nation.
In this stance, terms like “condoning” are used because this is not the first time, we talk about this mob brutality in the name of xenophobia, but we can date back as far as 2008 when at least when 62 people died in the xenophobia attacks that swept the country. What difference does it make to be an African a post-colonial Africa when we are still witnessing the blood of black people in its thickness gushing and rushing in the tarmacked streets of Durban? This mischievous and unbecoming behaviour has to be stopped one way or the other.
Julius Malema is a political clown only good at entertaining a political auditorium. He made the storm in a teacup on the Marikana Incident because all that he wanted was to win the hearts and votes of the electorate in the Limpopo Province. He blamed the Executive for abusing state funds in the Nkandlagate Scandal because Zuma dined on the national cake alone ignoring other politicians like him.
We were wrong for misidentifying Julius for an angel sent by the heavens to redeem a dominant party system with neither checks nor balances. If we can’t hear the EFF holding the ANC-led government accountable of the xenophobia massacre then Malema just like most African politicians is ostensibly out for personal gains.
Migrants from neighbouring countries who are of the same skin colour are being beaten, tortured and stoned to death because of the words of an ignorant and zealot African king who cannot recite history well and a violent President’s son, Edward Zuma.
Where is the “right to life” enshrined in the Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the Article 4 of the African Charter for Human and People’s Rights; the international protocols which South Africa is a signatory? The Section 9 of the South African Constitution clearly spells out the existence of the right to life. Now we question the country’s democratic credentials. If there is anybody to blame for the xenophobic murder in South Africa, the conspirators are the duo that is none other than King Goodwill Zwelithini and the First Son.
Most of the foreigners residing in South Africa are not there by choice but because of push factors that led them flee their countries of nationality to become refugees in the Rainbow Nation. Foreigners are usually mockingly referred to by native South Africans as “Makwerekwere.” A very derogatory term!
In actuality, if they are defining a foreigner according to ancestral descent the makwerekweres are the Indians, Boers and other Europeans living in the land. Those people travelled thousands of miles to either habour or touch down in Africa. Contrary to quite a number of those folks who are being targeted in the mass slaughter whom this scribe defends as true-blue South Africans whose Bantu-speaking ancestors ran away from the effects of the Mfecane northwards hundreds of years ago.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (2006:16) compiled elements both of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967, to define a refugee as any person who: “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” The point is, the xenophobia persecution is targeting hopeless people who have no other option to resort to therefore genocidal in nature just like the Hitleristic extermination of six million Jews.
It is estimated that South Africa is a home for more than three million Zimbabweans and it is crystal clear that is anyone talks of attacking the makwerekwere he or she referring to Zimbabwean migrants. If the Zulu king and the misguided First Son who grossly dislike foreigners (predominantly Zimbabweans) read his history well, they could note that before South Africa’s transition to majority rule in 1994, President Robert Mugabe dealt with Zimbabwe’s powerful southern neighbor cautiously. His contributions cannot be erased by a mere humdrum speaking of a Zulu traditional king. Because of its minority-rule apartheid system of government, Mugabe advocated economic sanctions against the colonial South Africa. Those efforts helped in the creation of a free and independent South Africa we now see today.
The xenophobic violence is a matter of public order and human rights. Human rights ought to be sacred and absolutely no one should have the right to minimize another person’s right. Pretoria should take measures to deal with herd behaviour or crowd-psychology. Otherwise if South Africa is not a democracy, then it is anarchy.
Takudzwanashe Mundenga is a resident political, social and business analyst. He is an undergraduate at Midlands State University, studying a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies Honours Degree. He runs this column weekly. For feedback and comments please feel free to write him on [email protected]