South Africans want to prioritize themselves in another wave of xenophobia

Unite we must. Without necessarily sacrificing our sovereignities, we can forge a political union based on defense, foreign affairs and diplomacy, and common citizenship, an African currency, a monetary zone, and a central bank. We must unite in order to achieve the full liberation of our continent – Kwame Nkrumah (May 26, 2016).

African unity has never been as threatened as it is in recent times. Where there have been minor reports of xenophobic attacks in some countries in Africa over the years, none has surpassed that of South Africa against other foreign African nationals. On social media today, South Africans are asking other African countries to leave South Africa as they have again, expressed how threatened they feel by their presence.

Xenophobia has become a recurring phenomenon in South Africa. This endemic in South Africa always lead to the loss of lives and properties and the tainting of inter-state diplomatic relations. The idea of globalization, however, has supposedly constructed the world into a concise village where everyone is recognized as a global citizen, however, ethnicity and cultural identity consciousness still define the basis for cross-border interactions.

For the most part, South Africans blame other African nationals for half the crimes committed in their country, ranging from drug dealing to prostitution and other social injustices perpetuated in their country. In June, a trend on Twitter typically asked Nigerians to leave their county over a video of a South African girl dancing for Nigerian men. Many tweeted their rage with the #NigeriaMustFall on Twitter.  In 2018, the world was also entertained with several gory violence that South Africans dished out against these foreign nationals.

The knowledge of these foreign nationals in their land is not the only thing that is inciting their violence, South Africans have also shared that their government is (deliberately) taking jobs from them and giving it to other foreign nationals. The search for greener pasture if defined in its literal sense has been the backing for many other Africans in South Africa.

Economically, people migrate for improved livelihood, employment opportunities, or realization of career objectives which may be more lucrative or enterprising in their new destination. However, according to studies, citizens host countries tend to display hatred and hostility towards non-nationals as competition for resources becomes heightened.

Unemployment in South Africa is so pervasive across South Africa that President Ramaphosa recently called it a “deep and serious crisis.” On this trend, #29AugustCitizenMarch, South Africans are drawing a line against foreign nationals as they have planned to come out en mass to depose the authorities and fight for their rights (and their jobs). But are the other African nations really the enemy?

When Africa started gaining individual state independence in the late 1950s, their antidote to the destructive segmentation of their continent under colonialism was pan-Africanism. However, while it seems that a little of that may have been achieved in the continent, South Africa, arguably, still very much, has been influenced by the whites.

South Africa and their leaders who have openly supported these xenophobic attacks seem to have forgotten that history in fighting for the greater Africa. Having failed to transform the lives of their citizens, too many have resorted to the rhetoric (familiar to most parts of the world) of blaming foreigners for their troubles.

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