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Are South Africans our brothers?

03 Sep 2019 at 18:02hrs | Views
In 1980 Zimbabwe got independent and we were happy, very happy. However, South Africa,Namibia and another country on the horn of Africa were still under colonial rule.

I remember when I joined the school junior choir in 1983 and the Senior Choir in 1985 we used to sing songs demanding the freedom of South Africa and Namibia. We would sing the songs as schools competition songs: free Mandela, free South Africa, free Namibia.

The songs told us that South Africans and Namibians were our brothers. Zimbabwe is not completely free if South Africa and Namibia were still under colonial rule. We were told that once South Africa became independent it will be given an African name Azania.

We sang songs for Mandela and Simon Nuyoma. We loved Mandela and South Africans, we liked Nujoma and Namibians.We thought South Africans and Namibians loved us in return. Finally Namibia and South Africa got independent and we were happy for our brothers, they were now finally free.

Mandela became the first President of South Africa. Zimbabwe abruptly sank into economic problems, its still in problems. We thought South Africa will come to rescue us in form of some loan bailout or so but I haven't seen any of the sort. Our people started running to South Africa as economic refugees but South Africa imposed a restrictive visa in the 2000s to prevent the flocking of Zimbabweans into their country. Zimbabweans were being hunted like rabbits arrested and bundled into "gumbakumbas".Zimbabweans were being arrested for indefinite periods in South African jails, and if lucky they were deported at Beitbridge with no money to travel to their respective homes.

Around 2008 and 2009 the visa was removed and it was replaced by Xenophobic attacks. Many people have lost their lives since then.  As I write Zimbabweans are being beaten and killed in South African cities .

I think we were wrong to think that South Africans were our brothers while they were still under apartheid rule. I regret all the songs that we sang dedicated to Mandela and South Africa. God have mercy on all Zimbabweans in South Africa, may you protect them from South Africans who are hunting them like rabbits. Amen.      

Etiwel Mutero is a political analyst and commentator. You can contact him on +264817871070

Source - Etiwel Mutero
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