Why South Africans Don't Like Other Africans - Nigerian Author, Chibundu Onuzo
Author Chibundu Onuzo writes on her experience when she travelled to South Africa and looks at why Nigerians are not particularly welcomed in the country.
On Friday, July 27, 2018, a Nigerian man Chibuzo Nwankwo was killed for allegedly harassing a female bartender in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Nwankwo who was aged 42, was reportedly shot. According to the Nigerian Union in South Africa, “the deceased, a patron of the bar got drunk and started harassing a female worker.
"Information available to the union said that Nwankwo was chased out by security personnel, but he kept on coming back; became very aggressive and rude before the ugly incident occurred.
“A murder case has been opened and an investigation has started. We call on Nigerians to be calm and allow the law to take its course."
The Union further states that Chibuzo Nwankwo’s death brings to 121 the number of Nigerians killed in South Africa since January 2016.
Xenophobia in South Africa is not a new issue. Nigerians and other Africans have been attacked or killed by South Africans who believe that these foreigners come to take away the little resources available to them.
An article written by Nigerian author, Chibundu Onuzo, which was published by Long Reads in July 2018, recounts her experience in South Africa.
"They don’t like Nigerians in South Africa, my mother had warned me before I left. She’d made us learn the South African anthem in 1994 when the country became democratic and official apartheid ended" writes the author.
"She felt the tremors in Lagos when the last colonial outpost in Africa came tumbling down. She felt it deeply. And yet, 20 years later, she warned me: They don’t like Nigerians there" Onuzo further writes.
During her trip, she touches on Apartheid, the inequality still in South Africa, and how South Africans view other Africans who live in their country.
"Although apartheid is officially over, some black South Africans feel that they are still fighting for the crumbs that spill off-white South Africa’s table. And to join them for these scraps have come all the Africans from the nearby countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, and from places further afield, like Nigeria" she explains.
Onuzo further states that "These Africans were formerly kept out by apartheid’s walls and now they are here, jostling and shoving. In South Africa today, surely the tourist market for South African clothing would be an industry in which a black South African could go unchallenged? Except even here, the Nigerians had come. In the townships, black foreigners have been “necklaced,” burned to death with tires smouldering around their necks."
Her stay in the Rainbow nation is more than racism. She narrates staying with a rich Nigerian couple in Johannesburg, having a South African boyfriend during her trip and her literary experience in the city of Durban.
Onuzo points out that while Mandela is rightfully celebrated as the anti-apartheid hero, there are other notable heroes that should get mentioned.
For black South Africans in the post-Apartheid struggle, the gap between them and the Afrikaans (the white minority that ruled the country until the emergence of Mandela as President) is huge economically. To them, it seems the little resources at their disposal has to be shared between black South Africans and Africans who migrated to the country.
In a country where some white people still use the racially charged word 'kaffir' (a word belongs in the same vocabulary as 'nigger'), the dream of an equal South Africa is not yet a reality. And as we have witnessed over the decades, the discrimination also happens to be black on black.
Culled from Pulse Nigeria