“THE ATTACKS ON NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA: TODAY AT WORK
The Facility I work has a healthy contingent of South African expats – especially in the field of nursing; South African Medicine is one of the most advanced in the World and their medical professionals are some of the most well trained and competent you could ever meet – Bar none, thus they are highly sought after.
In my area of medical specialty, currently, I have 3 South Africans directly working under my supervision.
We had a candid discussion this afternoon; about the attacks on fellow Africans living in South Africa, by South Africans.
We all agreed that the ongoing and recurrent attacks are Barbaric, unfortunate and unacceptable.
However, one of them immediately argued that the attacks – especially those on Nigerians – was a direct consequence of the criminal behaviour of the Nigerian!
“How” I asked?
She dichotomized thusly: The attacks on (neighbouring Africans country’s nationals) – Zimbabweans, Malawians, Mozambicans especially – In her opinion, is purely as a result of misplaced aggression. The attackers erroneously see these neighbouring African Countries’ nationals as economic migrants who come to compete with native South Africans for limited jobs and resources; But attacks on Nigerians, “those ones are purely criminals. They are not interested in making an honest living” she deadpan!
This South African colleague said further:
“they move into your hitherto safe and quiet neighborhood and take over. They turn it into drug dens. And street prostitution ring”
Continuing, she said: “Even those of them that claim to own one ‘shop’ or they other, they just use that as a ‘front’. Their main business is drugs, prostitution, and money laundering, which they transact at the back of the so called ‘shops’. We don’t want Nigerians in our Country”
One of the men, who had hitherto been quiet, said “Doctor, the mentality of the people carrying these attacks, on Nigerians is:
‘we have seen how you people destroyed your Country, we will not allow you people to do same to ours’
One of them, in apparent righteous anger, said: “Doctor, do you know that I cannot send my daughters back home to South African for their High Schools because my neighborhood has been taken over by your Nigerian brothers? I am scared they will rape my Children on their way to or from school. We feel besieged”!
Whao! I said Finally, when I was “allowed” to speak: “So, that’s how you people thought about me when I started work here”?
To a rapturous laugher they chorused: “Doctor, truth be told, when you first came, you were a topic of conversation one or two times, when we South Africans get togather”
“Didn’t you notice every body kinda gave you a ‘wide berth’ when you first arrived? Our motto is: better safe than sorry when dealing with Nigerians” one of them said.
Well, I asked them, do you think what’s happening to Africans in South Africa, by South Africans is Right”?
“No”. All of them replied. Especially, for non-Nigerian Africans. We know more innocent people, than the criminals have suffered. They don’t deserve it;
“But Nigerians”, They started laughing. “We just want them out of our Country”
MY PRAYER TO NIGERIANS AT HOME: While we have absolute right to be outraged both as Nigerians and human beings about the killings and destruction of property, in addressing the current situation, we must not Ignore the root cause(s) of why would Citizens of a Nation, who hitherto loved, admired and respected us; and in whose Freedom cause fight, Nigeria invested so much Blood, Sweat, Tears and Treasure come to so viscerally dislike us Nigerians?
Surely, we cannot pretend not to know that the very same group of Nigerians who say they are not Nigerians – and therefore must destroy her by all means, who disrespect their fellow compatriots, who believe in “make money by ALL MEANS or DIE TRYING” are those same that have throughout the world, spread a stigma on us all. A stigma that any person who has traveled on Nigerian’s Green Passport will know all too well!
While I agree that our Nigeria Government must express in the strongest Diplomatic terms possible, our abhorrence to these senseless barbaric behaviour of South Africans and demand it stops forthwith; and while also, I am not rationalizing or excusing these killings, we must not pretend and Ignore the fact that many of our Nationals constitute themselves into Nuisances, and Criminals. That is a fact that no fair commenter or observer can ignore.
While the Government works at ensuring a robust response, the culture that encourages these criminal behaviours must be addressed, starting from the community levels. Failure to do these, will only ensure that many many more innocent Nigerians will continue to be caught up in the web of the repercussions that inevitably results from the actions/behaviours of these criminal minds, as has presently happened with the current spate of xenophobic killings.
May God help and protect us all. “