To those that in their hearts keep peace
In years of my life i saw the demise of a Nation that once stood proud as Africa’s bread basket. A nation that stood glowing in its beauty, its currency, its fertile lands, its cultures and its wealth. I saw a once proud people toil in hunger like mongrels, slave to their choices and fear of change and growth. I saw a people journey far leaving their families, friends and the graves of their forefathers. I saw a people walk past Epitaphs of their beloved parents (God bless their Souls), .I saw Fathers kiss goodbye to their new born babies journeying to eke out a living in lands far, leaving wives whose wombs still bleed to gather faggots of dead wood to kindle the kitchen heath hoping. Sadly little does one’s ear shadowed by hope listen to the thin voice of fate that calls for doom and destruction.The place of hope (South Africa) for the hungry few has become a place of slaughter.
Once upon a time existed an Africa so united against a common cause.Songs of redemption and emancipation were always played blended with political chants and party calls on the what was then the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation.Political propaganda, oneness and racial parity was a mode of motivation that strengthened the unity of masses. Africa saw the rise of icons whose names still run in the blood of our History and Sovereignty per state as a continent, The likes of Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Mugabe, Samora Machel , Haille Selasie just to mention a few during and after the struggles for independence. These individuals united in the redemption of Africa from Colonial rule as one as a family.Kwame in thart period wrote:
“Never before in history has such a sweeping fervor for freedom expressed itself in great mass movements which are driving down the bastions of empire. This wind of change blowing through Africa, as I have said before, is no ordinary wind. It is a raging hurricane against which the old order cannot stand […] The great millions of Africa, and of Asia, have grown impatient of being hewers of wood and drawers of water, and are rebelling against the false belief that providence created some to be menials of others. Hence the twentieth century has become the century of colonial emancipation, the century of continuing revolution which must finally witness the total liberation of Africa from colonial rule and imperialist exploitation.”
― Kwame Nkrumah, Africa Must Unite
The Africa that we here stand on proud today of which our Posterity tasks us to defend.Africa gained power and recognition out of its acceptance of Unity of purpose.Powerful nations arose, amongst the States that rose was The Republic of South Africa.
In 1948 the Dutch in South Africa imposed a rule that saw the white population gaining 90% of control and power hence giving way to Apartheid. White supremacy saw black people being mistreated by whites and the Apartheid government. South African black people grew up amidst racial discrimination, poverty and violence which to an extent contributed to ethnic and racial tensions amongst its tribal groups. Settler regimes used the divide and rule method as a scheme of control, massacres of revolting masses and the limiting of resources also was a method the Apartheid government used to control the ever protesting masses.Black South Africans reached out to other African countries thus breathing within the vein of Unity.The injustice, racial discrimination and other contributing factors attracted the eye of the surrounding nations who had gained their Independence especially in 1960 when about 17 countries gained their Independence and more countries that did there after, conditions like sanctions were tightened and set against the South African Government for the gory treatment and living conditions of ordinary South Africans. The African continent stood against the Apartheid system and upon succumbing to international pressure of economic sanctions imposed against the 1983 constitution, the new white Leader De Klerk released Nelson Mandela and put in place a new constitution. Finally black people gained power and seats in parliament and South Africa’s president became a Black South African. The effort was from the South African people and all else who came to their aid in times of need, African to African.South Afican peace as well as most African countries was a collective effort. It is only when the people were united as Africans regardless of colour or creed that Colonialism was defeated and African countries found Independence.
It is a painful and hurtful site to see the violence that today erupts in South Africa. People do fall into misunderstandings yes it is normal, it is how the people in question react to the scenario that determines the path of things. History is shaped by violence, peace protests, fights, mass marches and what happened mostly is remembered because it was either done by a crowd for a good cause or it was done by an individual backed by a group of people. The French Bastille fell because a people were United against it. European despot monarchies fell for a people were United. My point in this is to elucidate on the importance of unity and its yielding positive results.
Human instinct dictates that if a person’s vicinity is no longer a conducive oasis of sustenance one has to go and look for greener pastures . Human instinct also allows one to make decisions and journey to places that can be able to sustain one’s or a family’s livelihood. Migration has always been there since the cradle of humankind, it is a part of our lives as human beings. African migrants are seen in Europe and Asia and the United States of America and vice versa, it is a part of our lives to try and provide for our families as much as possible. I find it fair to argue that apart from all this South African people are acting now out of selfishness and ignorance in fuelling their gory purge against foreigners that migrated into their country to eke out a decent living.It is only here in my travels where i saw a people that watch and curse at a dying man stonned to death, a crowd that sings and laughs at a man doused in petrol to be burnt alive whilst he pleads for his life all because he is foreign. It is only in this land that being a foreigner is a crime that deserves punishment by death in the most inhuman ways. The recent spate of xenophobic attacks does not only stain our moral fibre as a race but it tears our veil of unity that those before us toiled to weave. Violent attacks, burning foreigners and calling them names and displacing them is seen on the news worldwide, black on black and tribal superiority is slowly replacing the Apartheid system that we as a continent fought tooth and nail to eradicate. The South African mob has immeasurable anger towards foreign nationals. The attackers have become masters of blame and the ills of society are blamed on foreigners. One after analyzing this will see that the attacks are focused on the poor of the affected societies. The fortunate ones find ways to blame then violently prey on the weak and unfortunate. The Somali business people that trade in the townships making it easier for the people to buy basic commodities are robbed and their shops violently looted all because they are blamed for stealing business opportunities. One can only utilise a chance, had they found these places occupied by South African businesses none of the Somali business people could have come to trade in the townships Utilisation (BASIC INSTINCT). The workplace is a place where unfortunately citizenship does not guarantee a post but one’s experience and know how is most crucial, yet the ones attacking the foreigners argue that the foreigners are stealing their jobs. The million dollar question is , will hospitals, technical industries and sectors with foreign nationals function tomorrow if today the foreign professionals that work there decide to up and leave.
Reasoning serenades only a sober ear, and success follows those that believe in the impact of unity. Lions hunt in prides, baboons protect each other in troops and buffalo herds are a force in numbers.Nature is a painted canvas that the gods paint to teach mankind. The people of South Africa need to be informed on how their state was build, whose blood was spilled and the role their neighbours played in their struggles. Fresh from Independence they need to know the use of other ways in voicing out their concerns. Schools and clinics are being burned , the killing is bad and inhuman. The continent of Africa only is what it is today because the people opted for unity that in turn yielded results.
However South Africans do not owe anyone for this, they like everyone else need to enjoy their independence and its results in undisturbed peace. Immigrants need to be as legal as possible and this can only be achieved with the immigrants playing their parts in making the system work. People need to look at things not with a selfish but candid eye that is not sensitive to criticism. We need to play a part in ensuring the South African government that is in turn helping us with asylum and refuge. The people of South Africa need to learn to address issues without the use of violence.
“I witnessed a man stoned to death, boys burned to death, and asked myself where humanity is and what are we teaching our children if we raise them in labyrinths of anger and destruction.”
The world is in turmoil, we brew it as a people we need to stop. Tribal tensions and differences can not be a wedge that between races cause wars, lets end it. A wild fire cradles from a small match and it burns vast forests. Peace is for us and can only be brought forth by us as a United people.
May those that fell to Xenophobia Rest in Peace, may those that caused it find peace in their hearts and may the displaced find it in their hearts to forgive.