Before 1994 foreigners from everywhere in Africa faced discrimination and even violence in South Africa, though much of that risk was from the institutionalised racism of the time due to the aparthied system. After the first democratic election and the enthronement of the ANC in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of xenophobia didn’t disappear but increased. Between 2000 and 2015 at least 100 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks.
In January 2015 rioters targeted shops and properties of foreign nationals in Johannesburg suburb and other locations. Sadly, it is understood that a young school boy was shot and killed during this incidents. The attacks were motivated by xenophobia but it is ultimate a SIN problem. SIN is when you break the law that governs peaceful co-existence. Sin is the reason we murder others, Sin is the reason why we steal from others. Sin is the reason why we dislike the success of even our brothers. Sin is the reason why we only care about ourselves. Man by nature is sinful and evil. So to honestly tell you how I feel, I feel it is sin that got us here.
WE ARE SINNERS because we allowed xenophobia and racism to be part of our past and current generations. This has continued for so many years without being addressed by the government and people.
WE ARE SINNERS because drugs and alcohol has taken over control of our emotions and senses. Sin doesn’t allow us to make sound and balance judgment anymore when it comes to tolerance and showing hospitality to our neighbours due to our constant intoxication.
WE ARE SINNERS because we don’t practice what we preach anymore. We have lost the loving touch of “ubuntu”. We talk about it, sing it, recite it and even wear the costumes but we don’t practice it. Instead we see neighbours as economical and social enemies.
WE ARE SINNERS because though we are out of the apartheid era, apartheid is still in us. We have adopted a system that works to exclude some persons for selfish reasons.
WE ARE SINNERS because a lot of people who left their countries due to economical or social oppression can’t find a home amongst us. Sin has turned us into “terrible host”.
WE ARE SINNERS because certain townships and areas are not safe for foreigners anymore. Why is that? Are we now trying to decide who comes into my side of the town or city to conduct business? What happened to the freedom of movement? Sin will make you feel insecure even in your own home.
WE ARE SINNERS because lives were lost from both the foreign and the local side of the population. Sin has engrafted us to the point of being insensitive to murder and place no value on human life. It’s sad that we lost fathers, brothers, children etc. How do you justify this?
WE ARE SINNERS because we have created the whole situation into us against them. We prejudice other African nationals. Sin separates people based on race, tribe, religion, nationality etc. We have created hatred, accusations and insensitivity amongst us.
WE ARE SINNERS because we have allowed this situation to keep happening, from one generation to the other with no hope of resolving it. Sin has made us to pass xenophobia through our “DNA”, like an inheritance that is passed on to our children. I am afraid my son will turn out the same way. For how long will this continue?
WE ARE SINNERS because we have failed for many years to realise that xenophobia is not the problem but sin. Like Christians would say “Man has been sinning since the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden”
WE ARE SINNERS and thus need a saviour, and it seems the government or NGOs are sure not that. The solution to all the xenophobic tragedies is far beyond education, tolerance or mediation. It is all about the transformation of the heart and soul of sinful the man. Bringing God into the equation gives me hope for South Africa and Africa.
So just like every human, South Africans are sinners, not xenophobic. I’m a sinner too!