What is Xenophobia?
Xenophobia is the fear and hatred of either strangers or foreigners in another country. In others words, xenophobic person is someone from a particular culture or country who is afraid or have hatred for someone from another country or culture.
Xenophobic behaviours in South Africa
For some years now, the rate in which South Africans hate other Africans living in South Africa is becoming an epidemic. It’s disease of the mind, an ideology being injected into the people and society by politicians, traditional rulers and even the parents.
An ideology that crimes and criminals are among the foreigners only. Hatred on foreigners who work hard to earn living, foreigners who are seen as job takers or opportunity grabbers.
While the world is busy criticising the attacks by South African blacks on other black Africans, the South African leaders and advising other African nationals or migrants to move back to their countries.
The march on February 24, against illegal immigration which has stoked fear among foreigners in South Africa with extreme violence and xenophobia. It stated when a group called Mamelodi Concerned Residents from a township in Pretoria, matched against the South Africa lax immigration policies. They handed out flyers which states:
But this wasn’t the group’s real agenda for protest, but an undying hatred for African migrants living in South Africa. Businesses belonging to Malawians, Somalis, Nigerians and other Africans were targeted and looted in continual attacks for months, and these deadly attacks have been going on since 2008.
These attacks included looting of homes and businesses, killing and burning of migrants from adults to babies. These recent attacks has pushed migrants to fight back to protect their lives and properties as some Somali and Nigerian citizens have done.
Meanwhile Nigeria is taking matters to the African Union for regional intervention. Nigeria is the first to demonstrate against the killing of its citizens, and also want all South African citizens and businesses in Nigeria to leave.
This xenophobic violence has been destroying lives for years, but many South African leaders were quick to deny the facts about xenophobia. In 2008, former President Thabo Mbeki made a speech in denial of xenophobia. He said:
Also in 2015, the monarch of the Zulu people King Goodwill Zwelithini said,
The South African government has been accused of not doing enough to protect immigrants from anti migrant violence, and not strongly condemning xenophobia, instead many politicians use it to gain support by speaking against anyone accusing South Africans of xenophobia.
Xenophobia is happening in many countries, but in different ways. South Africans choose to use violence against other black Africans, while other countries use speeches like: “building a wall to keep out migrants,” while other countries use speeches like: “taking control of our borders, reducing migrant flow and taking back our jobs.”
As racism is a mental disease, xenophobia is also a mental disease. It is learned and so can be unlearned.