A community that once suffered several years of apartheid where Africans were harshly discriminated against, in the cruelest of ways. All the world posed and turned its eyes upon the wails of the many souls that were diminishing in a blanket of segregation and animosity. It was the struggle and diligent efforts of many extraordinary people like the Late. Nelson Mandela who redeemed the nation from extreme hatred and discrimination to forgiveness, freedom and harmonious co-existence of people of all races.
After several years of peace and tranquility South Africa is faced with yet another wave of violence attacks that have claimed over 7 lives and displaced many foreign nationals. People have turned their rage and frustration on to the unsuspecting foreign nationals that on many occasions leave their home countries in search of better opportunities and a better life. Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have previously been a major cause of alarm and death of many foreign nationals, with the most recent being the attacks that started in April this year. In May 2008, similar attacks broke out and claimed over 42 lives with over 17000 people displaced.
The main motive behind the attacks is the belief that foreign nationals are taking away the jobs meant for the natives during a time when South Africa’s unemployment rates stand at about 25%. The big question is “how many South Africans are qualified for the jobs they claim have been robbed from them or how many are they creating?” South Africa is the country with the fifth highest crime rate in the world and many people blame foreign nationals for engaging in crime, but can they possibly commit that much crime when they barely make up 4% of the total population.
The government has failed to provide reliable solutions to the many jobless South Africans who feel oppressed and has on several occasions undermined the immensity of the xenophobic attacks, while brushing them off as a simple misunderstanding between given settlements, until they attract international attention. The many years of apartheid brutality sowed seeds of hate among South Africans, a reason that could explain why South Africa is a highly violent country. Pivotal community leaders have continued to fuel the revulsion against the foreign nationals with controversial statements that further push the frustrated population to channel their hostility towards the easiest target, who happen to be the foreign nationals.
It is not too late to change the trends of South Africans attacking fellow Africans. The South African government has a big role to play in restoring peace to the affected communities by ensuring the equal job opportunities for both natives and foreign nationals. South Africans too, have to ensure they acquire the right employability skills to compete favorably on the job market or else they risk staying unemployed because on many occasions the foreign nationals are more educated than they are. Those who participate in malicious acts of violence against foreigners should be prosecuted to reduce the attacks which will also ensure justice for the foreign nationals
This is a tribute to all the people who have lost loved ones or been affected by the Xenophobia attacks in South Africa. #SayNoToXenophobia (Image credit to www.pbs.twimg.com and www.pulse.com.)