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Shockingly, blacks are justifying xenophobia the same way white racists justify racism. What some South Africans view as an outcry against illegal immigrants or influx of African foreigners is purely xenophobia. Amnesty International has said high ranking officials and political figures must stop blaming high unemployment and poverty on foreign nationals.
Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers; it is embodied in discriminatory attitudes and behavior and often culminates in violence, abuses of all types, exhibitions of hatred. Xenophobia in South Africa can be attributed to several causes; a feeling of superiority and poor intercultural information.
Foreigners of African descent are blamed for the high crime rate in SA, high unemployment, human trafficking, and selling drugs. However, such accusations are rarely supported by statistical evidence, a mere banter!
The outcry by South African xenophobes is that jobs are reserved for their nationals in other foreign countries, yet in their country, jobs such as Truck driving are littered with foreigners. The hypocrisy of South African citizens is that they welcome foreigners whose economic impact is demonstrably positive; xenophobic hatred is only directed towards those who ‘take away’ jobs.
But the reality is that the majority of the wealth in South Africa is owned by non-blacks Africans who include Chinese, Bangladesh, Indians, Middle easterners, and Europeans. Whites in South Africa make up about 8.7% of the population yet controls over 85% of the wealth.
About 6 000 European families own over 85% of agricultural lands in SA. Black descent African foreigners are not responsible for the dwindling of resources. It’s the non-blacks who own the means of the economy. It’s easier to blame a fellow brother and call them ‘Makwerekere.’
Yesterday the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president was going around restaurants to meet owners of the restaurants to ask them why they are prioritizing the employment of foreigners over black South Africans. It’s obvious; cheap labor because most of them are not documented. White capitalists will jump at every opportunity for cheap labor.
Even under apartheid, the recruitment of migrant workers was seen as a method of acquiring cheap labor for white capitalists. Fellow Africans are exploited for their desperation. No immigrant has taken South African citizen’s job capitalist to want cheap labor and thus take advantage of immigrants to increase profits.
Every political party in South Africa that hopes to win elections jumps on this wagon. They use appeals to the voting population and use their anger to build momentum. Perhaps that’s why EFF seems to be changing its stance this year. Last year they were pro-immigrant. Then, suddenly, they are against the recruitment of immigrants.
Apartheid has always made black South Africans feel less important. Even after decades of apartheid, the black majority are still the poorest. What we describe as Xenophobia is Afro phobia because it’s clear that the Africans are the only ones not wanted. We hate what we fear because we don’t like being afraid.
An afro phobia is a wave of deep-seated anger with oneself, embarrassment with your identity. Most black South Africans have deep-rooted animus for other Africans in South Africa who they ‘believe’ is doing better than them. Sad.