Anywhere you see “South Africa” in the news today, you see the word “xenophobia”. Nobody thought in a million years that Nelson Mandela's "rainbow" nation could descend so low after apartheid. Sadly however, most of us thought wrong. South Africa is gradually descending into a war zone. Xenophobic attacks on migrants from other parts of Africa is not something new in South Africa. It has only gotten worse.
In 2008, at least 60 people were killed with more than 50,000 forced from their homes due to xenophobic attacks in South Africa. There have been several more xenophobic attacks in recent years. In fact, it is only getting worse.
There's been rampant looting and attacks mostly targetting foreign-owned businesses in cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria. Several lives and properties have been destroyed. The African union has condemned it as a "despicable act" and several African nations have advised their citizens to exercise caution while in South Africa.
Some South Africans blame foreigners (especially Nigerians and Zimbabweans) for their socio-economic problems. They blame these foreign nationals for the lack of jobs and economic opportunities in South Africa today. The truth of the matter however is that, most of these South Africans with machetes and clubs killing and looting foreign African nationals, are nothing but a bunch of unskilled, illiterate and lazy scumbags who see xenophobia as an opportunity to loot with no fear. They hide under the banner of xenophobia to loot their daily bread.
Some South Africans believe criminal gangs are responsible for the violence but that is far from the truth. It is average citizens who are committing these barbaric attrocities. Some say South Africa's high unemployment rate which is now nearly at 30%, wild-spread poverty and inequality are to blame for the violence. The question however is, is South Africa the only country in the world with high unemployment rate? Is South Africa the only country in the world with poverty and inequality? The truth is that, some South Africans are just being ignorant, heartless and irresponsible.
The world today is a global village. There is no country in the world today that doesn't have foreign nationals. People will always migrate for greener pastures and there will always be competition. It is part of who we are as humans and it is so sad some South Africans do not see that. What we need to do as humans is to upgrade ourselves with better education and skills so we can compete fairly with our fellow humans. There are some jobs one cannot get even if all migrants depart from South Africa. One of these criminals wielding machetes and cutting people into pieces will never be allowed to operate in a hospital as a doctor and will never be allowed to work on someone's expensive car as a mechanic. Why? Because these are professional and skilled-labor jobs. For one to compete, one has to get the proper education and skills needed. That is where the South African youths need to focus their attention.
Let’s take Zimbabwean immigrants for example. Zimbabweans living in South Africa today are perhaps one of the most hated immigrant groups in South Africa and 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 what it takes to compete and 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 compete. So in this case, it is not even a matter of “competing” with Zimbabweans for jobs. It is a matter of losing the jobs to the highly skilled Zimbabweans.
Even if South Africa takes things to the extreme and deport all Zimbabweans from the country, that would not in any way give native South Africans the qualification and skills they need to compete with the outside world. So as we can see, it all comes down to the lack of proper education and skills. The people must be educated. South Africans need to be trained so they can get the skills and the qualifications they need to compete with foreign African nationals and the outside world.
Isn't South Africa a democratic nation? Isn't there a rule of law in South Africa? If an immigrant commits a crime in South Africa, what stops the law enforcement agencies from making arrests and prosecuting to the full extent of the law? Should citizens be encouraged and allowed to attack all other foreign nationals just because some selected few committed crimes? That is where the government of South Africa has completely failed.