During the inauguration of President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election, he said
“We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free. Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward. We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.
We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! God bless Africa!Thank you.”
You look at South Africa today and you can’t but feel the late president Mandela was only speaking for himself. South Africans today are tribalistic towards one another, a certain tribe believes they own the country and other matters less. Consequently, that has been extended to foreign nationals who fought and supported South Africa during the harsh years of apartheid.
The Xenophobic attack on May 11, 2008 at Alexandra, Johannesburg is still fresh in memories, a lot of nationalities especially Nigerians lost their lives and properties.The reason given by the South Africans is that foreigners are stealing their jobs, check the statistics below:
Population of South Africans is approximately 57 million people;
Unemployment rate in South Africa is 29 percent, which makes about 8.6 million South Africans, forecasted to rise to about 10 million before end of the year 2019.
There are only 2.2 million foreigners in South Africa
The question is, how can 2.2 million people be the reason for unemployment of 8.6 million people?
On July 20 2008, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered his apology to victims of the violence during a mass before thousands of worshippers.“Those who have been victims, we want to tell them we are sorry and we will not repeat this.We won’t tolerate this,”
He said, recalling the protection neighbouring countries offered militants struggling to end the nation’s apartheid regime.
“We were welcomed as exiles, as freedom fighters in those African lands.
Could we really have forgotten so soon?”
May I include that the motive behind the recent violence and looting of properties was not xenophobic but this is difficult to prove because South Africans have shown the attitude many times in the past among themselves and to foreign nationals. A borderless Africa is the way to our unity, our unity is non-negotiable.
AUTHOR: OBAFEMI OLUGBEMIGA: firstname.lastname@example.org