Stop pussyfooting around xenophobia

05 April 2019 | Columns

Xenophobic attacks targeting Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals have once again reared their ugly head in South Africa. The attacks on fellow Africans are unfortunate and cannot go unchallenged. News reports emanating from South Africa say the xenophobic violence has been partly fuelled by political campaigns ramping up anti-immigrant sentiments, as the country gears up for elections next month. It has also been widely reported that such attacks and threats usually target Zimbabweans, Malawians, Somalis, Mozambicans, Congolese and Nigerians. In this day and age, it is despicable that some Africans still harbour feelings of hatred and resentment towards others, to the extent of meting out violence. These feelings of inferiority and superiority, which have led to violent attacks and threats on fellow Africans, is a brazen betrayal of the legacy of Ubuntu as well as pan-Africanism, which was championed by our continent's founding fathers. Xenophobia in South Africa should called out for what it is. The spirit of Ubuntu as well as the ideology of pan-Africanism should always encourage solidarity and unity among Africans, wherever they find themselves. Despite our unique challenges in our respective nations, we should never lose each other along the way and weaken this unbreakable bond of humanity. Many of these African countries laboured to free South Africa from the yoke of apartheid and white minority rule, and should never be repaid in such a brutal inhumane manner. Xenophobic attacks have a huge impact on various sectors of our economies and we can ill-afford to be hostile to each other. As chair of the SADC regional bloc, Namibia must come out strongly and condemn this heinous crime against humanity, without fear or favour. What we want to see is a strong message of condemnation against this brutality, which if not widely addressed, has far-reaching consequences for our region. The time to act is now; we should no longer cow-tow and break kind words, while our African brothers and sisters are being maimed and murdered.