Xenophobia on Steroids in South Africa: Killing Fellow Africans with Glee


How does Africans killing fellow Africans in South Africa make sense for anyone  to comprehend and thus accept?

Here are the reasons given by some for orchestrating extrajudicial executions on their fellow Africans in post-apartheid South Africa. Africans, who are racially indistinguishable from the indigenous South Africans, are labeled intruders, irrespective of one’s immigration status, who don’t mean well for the national economy and sociopolitical and socioeconomic advancement of South Africans. Some migrants in South Africa from other parts of sub-Saharan African countries are blamed for bringing in drugs, prostitution and other illegal activities into their host country. But this could hardly be reason enough to justify systematic orchestration of extrajudicial killings of foreigners to the scale that is witnessed in recent weeks in the country.

Perhaps, the most important trigger for the current escalating spate of African-on-African killings has an economic overtone written all over them. The fact is that, due to extended period of apartheid reign over the South African geopolitical space, the subsisting economic system had been developed on dichotomous tracks which have stayed non-integrated despite the advent of majority rule after the collapse of apartheid. A very huge chunk of the Black South African population are still afflicted by illiteracy, material poverty and exclusion from upward mobility in the new post-apartheid society. A Black South African politician in Pretoria was blamed for shifting the cause of hardship among the country’s underclass to the high number of immigrants flooding into the country from all nooks and crannies of sub-Saharan Africa. The dubious politician opted to do what his colleagues are known to do elsewhere worldwide – shift the blame to some other persons and entities and thereby absolve themselves of all responsibility for the declining fortunes of their constituents.

In case of South Africa, the enlarging immigrant population in the country is the perfect fall guy. The frustrated and angry South African youths, most of whom are jobless, are being told not to point at their political leaders, but instead to the hordes of invading immigrants who swamp country from all over the continent to take away their jobs and hijack other societal amenities intended for benefit of the indigenous peoples. This diversionary gimmick has worked like charm. News reports emanating from South Africa tell horrid tales of well-orchestrated extrajudicial killings by angry South African mobs targeting whoever are identified as aliens, irrespective of the race. Those recruited into the killing gangs are made to see themselves as victims of sort who must then use whatever means to secure their South Africa for South Africans. One wonders if these impressionable miscreants have also been watching YouTube video clips from the Trump campaign predicated on “taking our country (America) back”, “putting America First” or “Making America Great Again” etc. 

Xenophobia is in vogue, especially in the Western economies, because their politicians see that ruse as the easy escape route from having to take on the full ire of their constituents who feel let down by contemporary socioeconomic circumstances they live with on daily basis. This mindset was mostly responsible for sweeping President Donald Trump into power after running a campaign that was predicated on whipping up xenophobic sentiments and religious intolerance targeted at adherents of non-Christian faiths. Nationalist parties in Western Europe are striving to harness the rising resentment against rapid influx of migrants from war-torn Middle East and Africa among White indigenous populations to catapult themselves into power. The fire may be burning in the South African cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, but the oxygen that fuels it is drawn from faraway United States of America and countries of Western Europe. What a mockery of democracy!

The escalating xenophobic killings could metamorphose into unanticipated consequences, especially if the government authorities would opt to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to this unwholesome new development. There is always a grave danger in giving any sort of legitimacy to extrajudicial killings as the veritable means of defusing societal anger or camouflaging dire socioeconomic plight of the downtrodden. If the underlying challenges in the country are not confronted and addressed, chances are that extrajudicial killings shall know no end, even after all migrants in the country have all been chased out or “executed”. South Africans are destined to turn on each other to feed the orgy of bloodletting at the slightest excuse. That’s the real danger of allowing the fiery hate speech spewed in this YouTube video to continue unchecked by the South African government.

Besides, South Africa has substantial economic interests around the African continent. The dominant telecom company in Nigeria, MTN and retail-store chain, Shop Rite, are South African-owned businesses, for example. Persistent killing of Nigerian expatriates by South African natives shall likely provoke retaliatory attacks targeting expatriate South Africans and the country’s remote assets in many locations across the African continent and even beyond. This smoldering fire is better extinguished now by the South African authorities under whose watch increasing numbers of Black Africans are being arbitrarily killed by fellow Black Africans.