Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

South Africans need a history lesson

15 Sep 2019 at 06:45hrs | Views
JULIUS Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has tried telling his countrymen that the borders they are so fond of were imposed by racist imperialists.

He has also told them that "we are all South African, Zimbabwean, Mozambican or any other nationality of Africa", but of course, all this has fallen on deaf ears.

Others have tried enlightening the violent thugs and looters, and their invisible handlers that their country is the biggest beneficiary, economically, through dominance in mining, manufacturing, retail and construction in Southern Africa and Africa as a whole.

But, they remain oblivious to these stark facts.

Furthermore, products from their country have flooded shop shelves in many parts of Africa, and the profits are repatriated to benefit the South African economy.

There is a huge pool of talent from across the world running South African industries right now â€" people that have contributed immensely to making South Africa what it is, with skills that were otherwise not available locally, but some dimwits that failed matric think they should be doing those jobs.


Add to that, the sacrifices by Southern African countries that suffered economic sabotage and were even bombed by the racist apartheid regime for supporting the African National Congress (ANC) in its fight to put an end to the evil system and for majority rule in that country.

These are the same neighbours, whose citizens are today being burnt alive in South Africa based on geography.

A little reading about the man, South Africans themselves adore so much, Nelson Mandela (the country's first black president), will reveal that when he went into exile in Tanzania, he did not even have a travel document.

Julius Nyerere had to organise a Tanzanian passport for him to travel for meetings.

History will remind readers among South Africans that Joe Gqabi â€" a member of the ANC's national executive committee and representative of the party in Harare â€" was given the highest honour by the Zimbabwean Government after being gunned down by an apartheid hit squad on July 31 1981.

The same country that gave Gqabi a home, honoured him using Zimbabwean taxpayers' money by way of a State-assisted funeral, today, has to evacuate hundreds of its citizens who fear for their safety in a "new" South Africa, which they helped liberate.

Abram Onkgopotse Tiro, the first South African to be killed by an apartheid parcel bomb, lived in Botswana, where he had been given refuge while undertaking Umkhonto we Sizwe's operations.

In May this year, the South African government and MK veterans sent high-level representatives to Zimbabwe for the funeral of Dr Dumiso Dabengwa in a show of camaraderie that goes all the way back to the liberation struggles of the two sister republics.

It is believed Zimbabwe had to put on hold its land redistribution programme so that South Africa could have its transitional negotiations from apartheid to majority rule without the attendant squabbles next door that were sure to accompany such a radical, but necessary move.

This was after the expiry of constitutional clauses in the Lancaster House Agreement that gave special protection to white farmers for the first 10 years of independence.


But, for a moment, let us forget all the aforementioned reasons why any sane South African must see xenophobia â€" aptly dubbed Afrophobia â€" as ill-advised: it is against Ubuntu and an affront to the gains Africa has made, especially with regards to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

I urge South Africans who are not bibliophobic to read.

The first recommendation is a document called Agenda 2063, or rather just the part that deals with AfCFTA.

For those not in the know, the AfCFTA is an aspect of the broader African vision called Agenda 2063, which advocates for, among many other things, the free movement of persons and goods on the African continent.

It has been hailed by the United Nations as a "huge achievement at a time of growing protectionism and rising trade tensions that are threatening stability and progress around the world".

My second recommendation is a book by Leonard Thompson titled "A History of South Africa".

This is the rich text on which I base this short history lesson for our brothers and sisters who live south of the Limpopo River.

They wake up every morning and see their shiny buildings, wide roads and white faces on every street and think that everyone else from Sub-Saharan Africa is a thief trying to steal their birthright. How wrong they are.

In decades after the Shaka-induced Mfecane, the mineral revolution followed.

Thompson talks about a period of gold and diamond mining in South Africa, which required many labourers.

Countless Africans from as far as Tanzania went to work in those mines at a fraction of what white diggers would normally demand.

The Boer economy flourished because of slavery, which upon being banned by the British mutated into slave wages, particularly for the migrant worker.

These migrant workers, who died like flies in hazardous underground mining, contributed immensely to building the "Rainbow Nation", whose rainbowness is clearly meant to describe the different shades of white.

That is why EFF leader Malema, whose consciousness, ideas and politics have evolved remarkably, scares the neo-imperialists, who long for the days when Rand lords like Cecil John Rhodes and his De Beers, Alfred Beit and Barney Barnato presided over the slave-wage economy.

It is a fact that South African mining has contributed and continues to lead in developing that country.

This is the reason Malema has called for the "redirection of the anger" by the violent "self-haters" to white monopoly capital.

In fact, some are already pointing fingers at white supremacists and those that benefit from divide-and-rule tactics for fanning Afrophobia.

The South Africa of today, where black people have no regard for black lives but fear even looking at a white person, is a result of a legacy of slavery, slave wages and the policies designed by apartheid architects with the sponsorship of the Rand lords (read white monopoly capital) to instil self-hate.

Many South Africans were born in South Africa, but actually trace their roots elsewhere.

This generation's ignorance is nauseating.

They have proven to not only be unaware of the role Southern Africa played in building South Africa, but how they themselves ended up being born South African.

Today, these people are callously executing their neighbours, even burning them alive, unaware that late singers Hugh Masekela and Dorothy Masuka trace their ancestry to Zimbabwe, or that Ray Phiri had Malawian blood in his veins.

These are just celebrities, how about millions more living among the 50-million plus population?

Had a white person's hair been touched during the xenophobic skirmishes, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa would have long been threatened with war.

But then, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) would have erupted in defence of a fellow member.

Unfortunately, Africans are killing Africans.

Sadc members and other African nations must be asking themselves if loyalty to each other is really worth it.

This is not just an acid test for Sadc, but the African Union (AU) as well.

Two of the continent's biggest economies â€" Nigeria and South Africa â€" are now at each other's throats.

It may not be the Heads of State from the respective countries or their ambassadors trading barbs, but still the "war" has gone too far and if there is no quick movement by the AU, it could escalate.

The AU's ambitious economic diplomacy meant to transform Africa into a single market, with a single passport and a common vision to be in complete control of their destiny is now in limbo.

In the xenophobic attacks that took place in South Africa in 2015 and 2016, 116 Nigerians were killed and more have been attacked this time around.

Over 600 Nigerian nationals are being evacuated from South Africa, while companies such as Shoprite, DStv and MTN â€" which are among the over 100 South African businesses operating in Nigeria â€" are at risk.The fact that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in South Africa next month for talks with President Ramaphosa says a lot about the gravity of this matter.

As long as there are threats against Africans in South Africa, there will always be threats against its interests in different parts of Africa â€" thus, there is no way for economic diplomacy to succeed.

So long as the South African High Commission in Nigeria or their embassies in Zambia and Mozambique are in danger from angry Africans protesting inhumane treatment of their countrymen in South Africa, Africa's collective aspirations will remain a pipe-dream.

Please donate!

If has helped you, please consider donating a small sum to help cover the costs of bandwidth. Anything you can provide is appreciated, thanks!
Donate with PayPal
Source - sundaymail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.