xenophobia SASouth Africa is burning but not so many people seem to know where the fire is coming from. In Africa, the rich and powerful often make the most stupid comments and it gets even worse when the poor and the weak forget to think. Anywhere you see “South Africa” in the news today, you see “xenophobia”. Yes South Africa is Xenophobia and Xenophobia is South Africa. Xenophobic attacks are not something new in South Africa. It has only gotten worse. The recent widespread xenophobic attacks unfortunately was sparked by a comment by the rich and powerful King of the Zulus, King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The “not so wise” comment from our Zulu king gave the tension a spark and started the fire that is burning in South Africa today.

According to King Goodwill, immigrants should go back home. Maybe King Goodwill didn’t mean it that way but unfortunately, his people have taken it the wrong way and that is why we as a people need to watch what we say.

So what is xenophobia and what are the root causes? Well, xenophobia is the intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries and in the case of South Africa, the root cause is nothing but illiteracy and ignorance. Yes the same illiteracy and ignorance fueling the Boko Haram terrorist attacks are the same illiteracy and ignorance fueling the xenophobic attacks in South Africa today and the only solution to the problem is quality education.

Let’s be honest. South Africa may be the most advanced country in Africa but that doesn’t necessarily imply South Africans are the most educated. In reality, South Africa is one of those communities in Africa where illiteracy reign supreme not just on paper but also in the body and souls of the people.

South Africans are violently attacking immigrants and the basic reason for the attacks is that, the immigrants are competing with South Africans for jobs. Let’s take Zimbabwean immigrants for example. Zimbabweans living in South Africa today are perhaps the most hated of all the immigrant groups in South Africa. In the case of the Zimbabwean immigrants, it is quite easy to understand. Most Zimbabwean immigrants are highly educated people. Zimbabwe despite the poverty levels is still among the most highly educated countries in Africa today. So most of the Zimbabwean immigrants living in South Africa today have the qualifications and all it takes to get the jobs and that is where the hatred comes in. Most South Africans feel threatened and they feel they are being pushed aside while Zimbabwean immigrants take all the jobs. The reality however is that, most native South Africans lack the qualifications and the skills to get the jobs. So in this case, it is not even a matter of “competing” with Zimbabweans for jobs and so it makes no sense whatsoever to attack the poor Zimbabweans who over-qualify for the jobs they get. Even if we should take things to the extreme and deport all Zimbabweans from South Africa, that would not in any way give native South Africans the qualification and skills they need to compete with the outside world.  Just think about the crime and the HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rates in South Africa today. So as you we see, it all comes down to the lack of proper education and skills.

The solution to the xenophobic problem in South Africa today therefore is proper education. The people must be educated. South Africans must be trained so they can get the skills and the qualifications they need to compete with the outside world.