By Hama Tuma
Some people know how to say thank you. Others wield knives and machetes on their benefactors. In Ethiopia, we mention children who bite the breasts of their feeding mothers. Ungrateful. And in reverse, we also say we do good but we only scoop ashes in return. Robert Mugabe has put it better: South Africans can remove the statue of a dead white man but cannot slap a live one and they can kill black South Africans. What happened in Durban and Soweto (we still remember the more than 60 killed in 2008) is not xenophobia but Afro phobia. The mob, provoked to a frenzy of hate and violence by none other than one of the sons of Zuma and the so called King of the Zulus who is a shame on the great name of Shaka, went on a killing spree that was directed ONLY against black Africans from other countries that had actually helped the South African struggle.
We could also agree with some people that Apartheid has scarred the soul and self confidence of the South African and in self hatred many rile against and detest their fellow Africans. To be noted though that thousands did oppose the Afro phobia thereby helping us not to lose hope on our Southern compatriots. But I for one have lost hope on the Zuma show which, along with white economic domination, has sucked all hope out of the ordinary South African and as a consequence turned them against their brothers and sisters and, mind you, not against the Whites who still are their economic masters. Zuma is at fault by his government’s failure to deliver the well being of South Africans and of failing to control one of his twenty two children who went on record vilifying Africans in an almost Apartheid tone. Zuma is a bad president and a bad father–that is the crux of the matter.
Violence is as South African as the Zulus’ isibhede porridge or utywala beer. Violence did not emigrate from other African countries into South Africa. The neck lacing, the savage murders, the armed robbery, the rape was all South African. The killing raids on workers’ hostels, the mob violence against the ANC by Chief Buthelezi’s followers did not come from Addis Abeba, Mogadishu, Lagos or Harare. Hence, the hate filled declarations by the present king of the Zulus, by Zuma’s pathetic son and some sections of the South African population and media is self deceiving and false. The claim that Africans from the continent are dirty smacks of Apartheid and I am sure can apply to water scarce Sowetoans too. The assertion that the migrants cause road accidents because they are not used to wide roads/lanes that they find in South Africa is laughable. It exhibits ignorance. The collective loss of memory on the part of South Africans as they rise against those citizens and countries who helped them during their struggle is sad indeed. That Robert Mugabe refused to shake the hand of the Zulu king, who should be charged for the murders, is to be supported. The mob rose against black Africans and did not even utter a whisper against the Whites who dominate the economy. Again as Mugabe said: South Africans can remove the statue of a dead white man but cannot slap a living one and will kill blacks Africans because they are foreigners. Another proof of the damage that the Apartheid system has done to the black South African psyche. Self hatred par excellence!
A some South Africans like to say, at the end of the day the buck goes up to the South African government whose failure to deliver has led the frustration of the populace and its mistaken attack against migrant and working Africans from outside of South Africa. Imagine Ethiopians living in a container and engaged in business from therein being a job snatcher for South Africans. Black Africans are not the economic threats of South Africans: the whites and corporate capitalism tolerated by the ANC are. But then again we can have another take on the whole issue. Imagine South Africans enjoying their wide roads and lanes, zero crime situation, clean as white soap and in come the unwashed masses of Africans, jealous of the ordinary South African’s wealth, spoiling his and her cleanliness, engaging in crimes that the “natives” have never indulged in, opening miserable shops, and who can blame if they erupt as volcanoes against these invaders who sleep in containers and shanty quarters where no self-respecting tsotsi would be found in. Imagine! Remember also tat the post Apartheid South African has been alien to any form of violence and is now shocked by foreign Africans engaged in robbery and violence. Who torched the workers hostels: Ethiopians, Somalis and Zimbabweans? Who neck laced alleged criminals? Foreign Africans. Who robbed citizens and tourists? The migrants. Neat. False answers all the way. Violence was and is as South African as Apartheid.
The corruption of the Jacob Zuma and his government is no secret. Here is one report as an example:
“And one scandal overshadows all others, “Nkandlagate”, which involves allegations that President Jacob Zuma improperly benefited from $22m of taxpayers’ money spent on upgrades to his sprawling Nkandla private residence.
An investigation into the controversy by the Public Protector’s Office said the president unduly benefited from the upgrades and recommended that he pay back some of the cash. Mr. Zuma vehemently denies any wrongdoing. But the controversy has damaged the credibility of his presidency and has come to symbolize the graft and patronage that Mr. Zuma’s detractors say has flourished under his rule.
This month, opposition politicians lodged a complaint with the Public Protector’s Office after local media reports claimed a company with links to the ANC was “handpicked” for a R631m ($53.6m) contract to build 66,000 toilets in a district of Eastern Cape province.
The company that was awarded the contract, Siyenza Group, is linked to one of Mr. Zuma’s son-in-laws — named in the Saturday Dispatch newspaper as Lonwabo Sambudla — and the son of one of his ministers, according to the paper, which initially published details of the contract.
Of the $22m in public funds spent on upgrades at the president’s homestead, Democratic Alliance politicians say non-security upgrades amount to at least R52.9m ($4.47m) including R8m for a visitors lounge and R2.4m for a swimming pool and parking. Government claims that the swimming pool served a security purpose because firefighters would use it as a reservoir met with derision. The president denies any wrongdoing.
The paper reported that company directors had allegedly splashed out on luxury cars, but little construction had been done.
Quoting anonymous sources, the newspaper, said Siyenza was “imposed” on the municipality, in spite of the contract having been previously awarded to four other companies.
Siyenza did not respond to questions from the Financial Times, but has previously denied any wrongdoing to the Saturday Dispatch. Asked in parliament about his son-in-law’s alleged involvement, Mr. Zuma said: “I am not a businessperson, I don’t deal in business.”
Impoverished South Africans have been pushed to Afro phobia by their own government. Africans are just scapegoats. Nothing more. The Ovambos say: He who is sweating with hate cannot rule the country. The king of Zulu and the son of Zuma reek of hatred–they are the dirty ones and not the migrant Africans. As the Shonas like to say, sin devours he one who has committed it. The Afro phobia of South Africa is an unpardonable sin.