Over the last 2 weeks there’s been another wave of xenophobic attacks sweeping across South Africa (again). The hate for the foreigner in South Africa is something I will never understand. Make no mistake, it is a very real and very hateful emotion among the black South Africans in our country.
We can discuss for hours as to why this is happening, and who is to blame for igniting the fires (The media is just loving it taking any opportunity to throw more fuel on the fire – notice how any type of bad service, crime or violence is now so easily linked to xenophobia where in essence it has nothing to do with one another)… but what I want to talk about it how we rich and unaffected South Africans are dealing with these Xenophobic attacks.
It simply pisses me off how everyone has something to say, has an opinion and so quickly throws comments, judgement and assumptions into the air. Maybe I need to just steer clear of these type of news articles and social media, but I can’t help feeling very.. VERY irritated at fellow citizens and more specifically my fellow white friends/colleges.
Have you noticed how people commenting on the xenophobic attacks fall in either 1 of 3 categories?
Bear in mind the lines that separate these 3 can be blurred and one may contain characteristics of the other:
1. The angry naysayer
The naysayer has nothing positive to say about the country. This person would be the one moaning and looking for justification for his/her statements at every opportunity. Statements such as “I knew it was only a matter of time…” or “This is bringing our countries tourism to its knees…” or “This is why a foreigner get a job above you, you see!”.
The statements coming from the naysayer is loaded with prejudice, ambiguity, and hidden (if you’re lucky) racist tenancies. Everything is in black and white (figuratively) and seems very logical. The problem and solution is always crystal clear to a naysayer. This is typically the person that has either already emigrated to another country, or are on the verge of doing so.
From my experience the South African naysayer is a person that is already very unhappy with the way the country is being managed or run, and will latch onto anything that supports this unhappiness.
2. The Emphatic idiot
This is the person that truly has a heart for humanity, but is absolutely clueless when it comes to what is actually happening in the country and who really is doing what to whom. This person will believe anything that he/she reads. His/her opinion is easily swayed as long as it does not conflict with the sincere love and passion for people and humanity.
Statements made by the Emphatic idiot are normally also exaggerated and tend to give those who read it a warped idea of what is going on. Statements would typically be something like “I cant believe my countries people are destroying each other” or “why do all the Zulu people hate the Zimbabwean people? This is so sad!” or “I couldn’t sleep last night due to the fear my life, we is our nation killing each other, why?”
The emphatic idiot (idiot is a strong word, but I could not find anything better when typing this) is a great person to know and to be around, the problem is when you give them a voice and an audience.
3. The compassionate intellectual
This is the type of person I wish we had more of. The compassionate intellectual would also be extremely saddened and even angry at the xenophobic attacks, but would refrain from jumping to conclusions or using their friends or typically social media as a means to find justification for preconceived judgments. The compassionate intellectual are typically more informed that the average person and would have a better idea on what is really happening.
He/She typically has less emotional “country baggage” to deal with (things such as pain due to a hijacking or anger due to a robbery or theft or murder). The compassionate intellectual has by no means never been a victim, they’ve just dealt with it better and are not letting this influence their opinion about xenophobic attacks (in this case)
So there you have it, my take on how we all interpret the latest tragedy to strike our country.