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Anti xenophobia march in Johannesburg

Xenophobia wears the same prints

Xenophobia in SA and the US is similar; it gets intense but lacks a proper ‘why’. Soon after, it dissipates, new agendas weigh in, and all is very soon forgotten. But, as with any targeted violence, it’s not without its toll. Worst yet, its victims, largely vulnerable refugees, do not have enough muscle to recuperate much from it.

Why is it intense? Because it evokes complex emotions stemming from a threatened identity, loss of jobs, and stereotypes. It feels as though we are not receiving but giving. We are forced to share a dollar with outsiders, and that’s that. Our dollar, our dollar! It’s only a matter of time before they assimilate their culture into ours, thus taking our only identity.

With new people come tastes, possibly languages and ailments, and new mouths to feed. Or ten more people to plough the land.
With new people comes a further strain on the government. Plus, the government still owes us; I don’t see how they will fulfil their obligation now.

Phew, okay, above is one association we usually bring up here in SA regarding refugees and immigrants. I will assume the same factors motivate sentiments in the US too.

After all, our world is hierarchical and boiling at the top!

What do I mean by this?
For instance, in SA, hate is targeted toward Black Africans from the Mainland nations all the time! No exception; don’t bother searching! And Black South Africans are always the culprits.
No Chinese, Whites, Indians and other ethnic peoples are ever present, whereas they own the bulk of the infrastructure being defended from the invaders. That is the hierarchy! Someone needs to do the dirty work!

They are the employers, the wealth creators, and we are the employees who’d do anything to protect the jobs we have. So when supposed enemies come in, our jobs are instantly at risk. That is how it feels most of the time. Remember, our country is semi-skilled, and many jobs are up for grabs.

Our nation is divided many times, similar to the US. These divisions are not decided but result from economic classes. Segregation always favoured the master, and it still does.
Here is how we break it down: We have Whites at the top and Blacks at the bottom. Nothing new! This is how it is: Whites-Indians-Mixed-Blacks, and recently Black-blacks. Mixed peoples are multi-racial. Black-blacks are African Immigrants or refugees, the lowest class in the chain.

A bi-racial cape community. Source Wikipedia

Not to sound elitist, but resources decide who Black South Africans can usurp or revolt against. And it is none other than Black-blacks. We know by law that the White elite is no garden for our gibberish. Worst yet, there exists another super elite class, the White-whites. The ones who control world governments. They are neither here nor there, don’t bother looking for them or staging a revolt. They may as well be filaments of our imagination.

They are a myth in our circles, they are extremely powerful, and a stern ‘no go zone’.

I am not an apologist!

That is the perception that we generally share.
To avoid sounding like an apologist, I must declare that we are not a hateful nation by any means. Afrophobia is always taken out of context. We are not very wealthy people; we often border on poverty. My analysis is that Xenophobia is triggered by a fight-or-flight instinct in us. We are subconscious about it, only activated by the prospect of going hungry.

That is apparent because we only attack one group, the one most threatening to us.

We are driven by an instinct to survive, not evil hate or outlandish norms. This is made naked by the spaces in which these crimes occur, the townships! Townships are largely spaces where the low-middle income people live, employed and unemployed people. The most vulnerable people! Able Blacks usually leave these spaces after some time.

Soweto, a large township south-west of Johannesburg

Our ignorance only goes as far as we have travelled; this is true for everyone. The people in the townships have done little travelling. Travelling requires money, a currency which they don’t have.

We also live in a very peculiar place, where much of our workforce is employed directly by the government. That explains the discomfort when the government has to stretch its resources. We are leading hazardous lives. We have shallow pockets and are mostly one paycheck from poverty.

They say rich people are evil; I don’t entirely agree. Rich people are the most docile; they have little to fight for. The same system protects them! Poor people have a higher knack for violence. And they are the most exploited by the system.

Let us rather do way with money then.

The day rich people become vulnerable is when we usurp money as a means of trade. Money evolves but will never disappear. It is the most protracted fashionable asset.

The question should be, how can we be wealthy without fighting the rich? In any case, it would not be fair because building wealth requires particular skills to be exercised. And we did not do such on their behalf.
Unless they got there by exploitative tactics, then what’s theirs is just that.

This style of thinking is critical because it forces creativity and focus. Once we start looking inward, we will find some answers to burning questions. Unfortunately, the best that could come out of hate is requited hate.

With everything that has ever gone wrong with us, we must realise that we may have been arses too.

Unless the pipeline of foreigners is stopped using other measures, then we best acquaint ourselves with them. It is a far better strategy than hate.

We may also learn something from these people. Mainly about grit and adventure.

We are not running away from this one. Our passive selves looking for something for nothing will die in vain. Maybe our prying attitudes must change asap. Because at this rate, criminals are born. And with criminals, everyone gets hurt!

We keep blaming the government

We have stated how the government is weak and borders porous all over again. Maybe that is who we are. We have become so vegetative, and the government must save us, although they can’t save themselves! No one can save another unless under exceptional cases, and even then, family comes first. We are on our own, as it should be.

In the end, Xenophobia may not be fully our fault, but our impunity is. If ever we find ourselves at loggerheads with foreigners, then our participation is on us.

People had killed foreigners when the cameras were not watching, which is not cool at all—a complete no-no. The reverse is true as well, although its probability is far lower.

In the end, salvation goes to those who search thoroughly for it. But also, time always consoles and reveals new truths; let it be our companion.

Thanks for reading. Happy living!

You may be interested to learn about the benefits of living in shared communities here.

Protestors sing slogans while holding placards marching under the banner “#Put South Africans First” to the Union Buildings against the extension of Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Renewals in Pretoria on November 24, 2021. – The special permits for Zimbabweans make it easier for Zimbabwean nationals to legalise their stay in South Africa by cutting red tape and dispensing with most of the ordinary visa requirements. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)
Author: Kamohelo

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