XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA – A PROPOSED WAY FORWARD
I sometimes holidayed with my grand auntie when I was a kid. One of the things I noticed was that whenever I did something wrong she would discipline me like she would do for any of her children. Her goal was to make me a better person. She would not tell me that because I have done something wrong she would send me back to my grandmother. She understood that for the family to move forward she had to work closely with my grandmother to make me a better person. Her husband and children loved me too. I ate together with her children. We played together. We did so many things together.
Some foreigners may not be contributing to the moral growth of South Africa but asking them to leave without giving them the chance to go through the same moral mechanisms that South Africans go through would not solve the problem.
These foreigners are in search of a better life. Some are fleeing economic hardship while others are fleeing political violence. So, sending them back to a life of misery is not the way forward. This would lead to frustration, thereby giving rise to more criminal gangs. This means an increase in instability in Africa. Xenophobia also gives rise to division. We do not need these things. An unstable and divided Africa means an unstable and divided South Africa.
Xenophobia does not enhance a good diplomatic relation. It brings no economic benefits. South Africa should not get tired in contributing to the growth of Africa.
South Africa can still be a solution ground. That is, the South African Government, for serious cases, should instead work closely with the governments of these foreigners to put the foreigners on the right tract. There should be a fair trial for court cases. When one foreigner does something wrong only him or her should be fairly brought to justice. Targeting all foreigners when only one of them has done something bad is wrong.
We need to start living as a family. We need to welcome teamwork. This will contribute so much in moving Africa forward. The time to be each other’s keeper is now. Africa is one region.
The fact that some South Africans do not want to see foreigners in South Africa does not mean that all South Africans are like that. Therefore, the South Africans who are in other countries should continue to be treated fairly. Destroying their businesses, for example, would not solve any problem.
It is true that South Africa has been through a lot, but the xenophobes need to understand that these foreigners did not support the system that made life difficult for their forebears. The xenophobes have an opportunity to honour their forebears by living what they fought for; equality and fairness. They did not fight for hate. The xenophobes need to start seeing foreigners as their brothers and sisters. A poor attitude towards foreigners has nothing good to offer. South Africa would always need foreigners. South Africa would always need other countries.
We need to love and respect foreigners. These are the things that children should be learning from us. They need to learn kindness from us. We need to be their role models. This would contribute so much in eradicating xenophobia.
If we do not do our best to move Africa forward, no one would do it for us. We would do this by giving equality, fairness, love and peace a chance in our various communities.
We should not focus on the xenophobic violence in South Africa and forget to deal with the various forms of discrimination in our various communities.
Dedicated to my Grand Auntie, Lahka Eunice, her husband and children, and all the foreigners in South Africa
Aye Brandon Kiven
Northwest Region, Cameroon