16 min read

Joseph Omoniyi

Since the recent upheaval of xenophobic attacks unleashed on foreigners, allegedly targeted at Nigerian residents by South Africans, many shades, versions of what I call a season of this ‘episodic film’ have been flying around with each causing a ripple effect and rearing explainable ‘ugly reactions’ depending on which angle you are watching from.

One of the most shocking out of these revelations is a report that claims that no Nigerian was killed in the crisis- note the way it didn’t claim that nobody was killed. But let us assume that is true. Is that enough to downplay the real issue since nobody has denied there was ever any attack? Wait, hold that thought.

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Let’s try and move away from the sides of the two governments who had both served us with inaccurate, irresponsible reports. At some points, the South African government had maintained the narrative that no Nigerian was killed in all of the attacks, before claiming yesterday that just two Nigerians were among the casualties. The stories we hear from the Nigerian government also claim no Nigerian lost

A Nigerian resident in South Africa, Femi Showunmi in his attempt to shed light on this crisis spoke with Hotjist, stating that most of all the videos that were circulating online are untrue and claimed some are old videos. He said the media were flying wrong information.

“No Nigerian has been killed, and that’s the truth. one person was shot in Ibra, a neighbourhood where foreigners stay. Nigerians and Zimbabweans are notorious in that suburb, a woman was shot at close range but, she’s not a Nigerian. Also in a place called Allexandria, mostly dominated by South Africans and just like Soweto, it’s a bit mixed with Southern African foreigners, Nigerians, and West Africans”.

According to Showunmi, some South Africans were also embittered after they mistook an online video of a Nigerian being woman being beaten for stealing a baby as a ‘South African woman’ being attacked as a form of a reprisal attack in Nigeria.

Another Nigerian living in South Africa who made his opinion known to hotjist.com attempted to give a detailed background of the real issues between the two nations who are supposed to be ‘sisters’;

‘The issues are complicated. SA have their own faults and we foreigners have our faults. SAs are racial biased. White is superior in their eyes followed by Indians and Asians, but other blacks immigrants are seeing as nothing until you prove your worth. This explains why apartheid. They are just growing and mostly menial jobs are been done by them. Foreigners coming here must be a professional or students or sponsored to survive. Anyone apart from these, will sell drugs, do assassins, Yahoo Yahoo, wash wash etc. I will send you links of our ambassador’s comments on it. Drugs business and fake commodities especially food are serious epidemy attached to foreigners, because their people hide to do such but we boast of it. A lot of foreigners are into it but Nigerians display it arrogantly. A little argument someone must die whether Nigerians or SAs. Once people know you are a Nigerian the next thing is to request for drug. While others are doing legitimate work, some bad heads are spoiling show. For a Nigerian to have breakthrough, other Nigerians will come and request for security fees running to thousands of Rand, if not the person will be killed or asked to go back home. In the last couple of months I have heard in my little town more than fifteen killings among us done by our own people. I attended Enugu end of the year party 2015. I vow not to attend again. See oppression by our own people. AK47 displayed arrogantly, and openly.

We should just try to live peacefully with our hosts or else a lot of innocent people will be victims.

SAs are threatened by the wealth of foreigners in their country. Some are afraid of working but want to enjoy. This just gives the opportunity to show who they are.’

In response to the claim that South african are fighting against drug dealers and lawless Nigerians who had turned their streets into crime cartels, this is what this anonymous has to say;

‘Majority of South Africans are good in serving others. They work very well as cleaners, security, drivers, domestic workers, etc. For a foreigner to survive, you have to start a business or employed as a professional. The law compelled you to employ them. No problem with that. As soon as you start making money, buy good house and nice cars. You know a typical black person life now. Problems start, locals will hate you, your own people will do. So you have to start fighting to survive. The worst love you can show a SAs is to bring them to your house. Few weeks after the house will be empty, if at all infants and women are not raped. All of these vices are not only done to foreigners but themselves. For those living in CBDs, it’s everyday experience. When they fight themselves, it is fight to die, so the same is done to a foreigner they don’t see as big deal. Whites live separately, likewise Indians, coloured and blacks. There is a great complex in their society, with very weak laws. Corruption is the only crime one cannot be bailed. Rape, murder criminals etc arrested today will return to street the following week. The anger of their poverty is now transferred on foreigners because there leaders are deceiving them to see the lives they would have lived is been lived by foreigners.
Foreigners have ways of importing branded clothing and cheap commodities which is still considered illegal because they are contraband, and sell cheap to locals(blacks). Local blacks constitute about 80% population and mostly consumers, so whatever thing you bring must sell as long as it’s a need. So about 10% determine the economy of about 90%. Now foreigners now spoil market for the capitalist, which their president is one. This is just a part of the problem, but still doesn’t justify foreigners oppressing locals and locals destroying foreigners business.

In a sad twist of events, some hoodlums under the guise of protesting and staging reprisal attacks against what was going on in South Africa, storm several outlets and businesses supposedly owned by South Africa, looting them dry. Someone even interviewed one of the looters who ignorantly said they were protesting the killing of an Igbo man in South Africa named ‘Xenophobia’, Can you imagined. Unknown to these miscreants or supposed protesters, the only link these businesses have with South Africa is their origin, Nigerians owned their franchise.’

In a very sad development, a Nigerian businessman took to his social media page to gave a clear picture of how the supposed reprisal attacks had damaged him more than South Africans;

‘I am a supplier to Shoprite stores for my product. They are my biggest purchaser.
So now that they are shut down and may not be able to reopen for many months, how do I get along? They have a database of about 50,000 suppliers just like me.
Who will those suppliers sell their products to?

So, I’m thinking I may have to shut down production for a while, I am sure many other producers will do the same
Who will employ all the staff from the 50,000 suppliers?

We have just begun guys, we’ve only just begun.

The number of shops that were looted in those malls and may never recover is unimaginable. The number of staff who will become unemployed.

All this because some people posted false pictures of an MTN office being set on fire’

The real issue:

This xenophobic crisis which was birthed in 2008 when it went nationwide does not appear to be ending soon even though the two governments pretend to prepare a cover up and hide from the real issues again.

Undoubtedly, South Africa boasts of an unrivaled level of economic development in the whole of Africa, reason millions of migrants from neighbouring black countries whose economy suffers from various ‘diseases’ troop in yearly, looking for safe haven for their lives and livelihoods. This overpopulation is really overweighing its GDP growth rate causing a serious decline.

Also, unemployment or what I call ‘not wanting to be employed’ most especially among the young population in South Africa has contributed immensely, directly or indirectly and helped to fuel the crisis.

What many international observers and those who are too pained to see have failed to realise is the unseen hand of the politicians who are willing to incite violence with the help of some lazy, uneducated youths, for their political gains.

If there is one thing Nigeria has done right in the midst of this recent inter-national chaos, is to call a spade a spade. 83 of those miscreants who looted Shoprited were arrested and were never referred to as protesters. We must learn how to isolate crimes and violence in order to avoid wars or irreparable hate between two nation who are meant to be sisters

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