South Africa: Are South Africans Victims of Memory Lapse?

Published on 27th May 2008

Had Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founding father been alive; I would have asked him a question. I would not have accorded him the usual admiration he receives back at home. No! I would have demanded that he tells me when all the taxpayer money that Tanzania channeled towards the liberation of South Africa would be reimbursed. I would also have demanded that he tells who in particular we spent our money on and finally ask him if Tanzanian citizens had given him the green light  to support South African’s liberation.

It has become normal for African leaders to make decisions without consulting the electorate – decisions that involve squandering taxpayers’ money – which rarely comes back. Furthermore, African leaders have relish involving themselves in the affairs of other countries while their own countries deteriorate. Margaret Lee in Challenges Facing the Mandela Government notes the rise in crime immediately after South Africa got her independence from white minority rule in 1994. The region’s escalating wave of crime is posing a great danger to visitors in Africa.

The attack of immigrants in Alexandria, Johannesburg and Gauteng is a reflection of the conflict boiling within South Africa. This Umkonto we Sizwe type of violence strongly demonstrates that the government is powerless before militias who have taken it upon themselves to indiscriminately evict immigrants without bothering whether they are legally in the country or have sought refuge from conflict ridden areas.

South Africa is home to a vast population of Zimbabweans who have fled harsh economic conditions in their country. It not only accommodates people from the Great Lakes Region – who have fled civil wars, but also supports people from peaceful countries like Tanzania. I’m told that whereas Zimbabweans form the majority of immigrants in South Africa, Tanzania follow. All these immigrants think that South Africa has a better business environment than their respective nations.

Imagine an African who has sought refuge from trouble back at home – being put on the run from his supposed sanctuary of peace. Over 50 people have lost their lives to machete wielding mobs while an estimated 25 000 have fled to churches and refugee centers for safety. Will such victims ever forget this treachery?

If South African natives have declared war against other African nationalities – who will accommodate native South Africans when their country will be on fire? The natives claim that the immigrants are using up their resources but when the same natives were refugees in other African nations at the time of Apartheid, weren’t they using up resources in the host countries?

Native South Africans (in spite of hiding in excuses such as being robbed of jobs and wives) are clearly demonstrating how ungrateful they are.  If they had known that their lot is not different from other African states – they would not rise up against their brothers. If they had known that they are suffering from the effects of colonialism – they would not harbour the mentality that if their fellow Africans left, life would be better for them.

Is this the generation we fought to liberate? If it is, did we achieve our objectives? If not, what are we waiting for to oppose this savagery perpetrated by South African natives?

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