In 2009, Bishop Desmond Tutu was on the campus of the American University of Nigeria as a guest speaker. In his speech, he apologized to Nigerians for the xenophobic attacks on black Africans the previous year. More than five years later today, South Africans are shamelessly slaughtering their fellow African brothers and sisters, claiming they had gone to their country to take their jobs. Is this what Mandela fought for? Is this what Steve Biko died for? Is this what Bishop Tutu, who coined the phrase “Rainbow nation”, stands for? And is this what Nigeria led the rest of Africa to fight for? Today, the murderous actions of black South Africans have diminished that nation and their heroes in the eyes of the rest of Africa. How Botha and his white gang will be snickering at the black race behind their thick doors!
While white minority rule prevailed in South Africa, black migrants were not slaughtered on the streets of that country for “taking away jobs meant for black South Africans.” But now that blacks control government and whites control their economy, South Africans now blame the failure of hope and promise of a “free” South Africa on their fellow black Africans. How blind they are! Their misplaced aggression is an example of extra-punitive aggression. What really did the black freedom fighters of South Africa accomplish? Yes, South Africa now has a black president. But let us recall what General Sani Abacha said while Mandela was South Africa’s president: He said South Africa was a white country with a black head. How true this is today! When you control the imagination of a man, you can push him against even his brethren or self-interest. Of what use is political power without economic power? He that controls the economy determines who gets the jobs. Black South Africans must know what the real problem is. Slaughtering black Africans on their streets can’t make them cleaner, nor could that bring them the jobs they lack.
I was only about 11 years old when my father made me understand the plight of black South Africans. When Steve Biko was killed, and I read about and saw the plight of my black South African brothers and sisters, it triggered anger in an eleven-year old boy. Like me, many young and older Nigerians saw the oppression of black South Africans as their oppression. Their tears were those of Nigerians and other black Africans on the continent. We attended the same universities with South Africans who came to live and study in Nigeria. Our governments took risks against white world powers for the sake of black South Africans. Now, those ungrateful South Africans slaughter fellow black people from other African countries while sparing whites living in their country. I am not saying they should sink their stained paws into the flesh of white people. Rather, I am trying to expose the virus that lodges in their soul.
In the Book of Judges in the Holy Bible, chapters nineteen and twenty, there is the account of a Jewish man whose wife was raped to death all night by a gang of Jews in the town of Gibeah, in the tribe of Benjamin. He cut up his wife’s corpse into twelve pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel. All who saw this said, “Nothing like this has ever been since the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt until this day. Take note of it, consider it, and speak up.” Then the whole nation sent to the tribe of Benjamin saying, “What is this wickedness that happened among you? So then, hand over the men, the perverse lot, who are in Gibeah, so that we may kill them and purge this wickedness from Israel.” Surprisingly, the Benjamites refused this request. Rather, they gathered to battle against their brethren, the rest of Israel. And on enquiry whether they should go to war against their brethren the Benjamites, the LORD answered the rest of the children of Israel thus: “Go up tomorrow; I will give them into your hand.” The tribe of Benjamin was roundly defeated.
This new wave of xenophobic attacks on black Africans resident in South Africa by their fellow black hosts is one that will not leave Africa the same. There must be severe consequences. The stench of black South Africans has gone upwards, and now shall that nation begin to fall behind so terribly before Africa and the world. I am so convinced, and I speak boldly this way. He that pays back good with evil, evil shall never depart from his household. South Africa is sick.
I call on the African Union (AU) to consider a set of appropriate sanctions that will affect not only South African businesses and government, but also directly affect adversely the people of South Africa. And Nigeria must lead the way. We must send a strong message that Africa will never tolerate such un-African conduct from any people on the continent. Apologies and empty promises by the South African government will certainly not suffice. If the Jonathan government cannot lead in this move, I call on President Buhari to make clear in no uncertain terms that there will be severe consequences. It does not matter whether Nigerians lost their lives in the attacks or not; what is important is that our African brothers and sisters are being maimed in an ungrateful nation, having their hard-earned wealth destroyed or taken away from them.
First, there must be a recall of all African diplomats from South Africa and expulsion of South African diplomats from the rest of Africa. Secondly, there must be demand for full reparations to be paid by the South African government to the victims and their families for loss of lives and property (This will eat into the commonwealth of South Africa that should have gone to the mad gangs). Thirdly, until those reparations are accurately calculated and fully paid, all South African companies doing business in African countries should be sanctioned (There are many ways of doing this). Here in Nigeria, the South African cable television company DSTV has increased rates even against the ruling of a court of law. DSTV’s days in Nigeria should be numbered. We have a rising competitor in the Nigerian Startimes cable television company. DSTV’s monopoly in Africa must be focused on now and stopped one way and another. The South-African MTN makes huge profits in Nigeria and other African countries. Appropriate sanctions must be applied, and let black South Africans keep those jobs they claim their African brethren are taking from them, and let the rest of the continent keep their markets. More South African companies (including their airline) should be targeted. Never again must the rest of Africa be content with mere apologies from South African emissaries like Bishop Tutu.
President-elect Buhari said that the world would soon feel Nigeria’s leadership once more as she leads in solving world’s problems such as terrorism, economic deprivation and climate change. His voice will certainly be heard on this xenophobia menace. Never again shall the black leader watch idly as such madness runs wild on our continent. We are one people, and must apply the rod where there is any misbehavior on the continent. If South Africa hopes to join Nigeria in solving African problems, she must put her house in order as Nigeria is doing. Zuma must not give Africans cause to believe he is incapable of providing leadership to his people. We have had enough of the insults. Africa must wield the big stick. I have taken note, considered it, and spoken.
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