MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 4
Article views: 1700
Latest Badges:

View all VaPunungwe's badges.

The Madeleine Albright of South Africa

30 June 2014, 14:27
The plight of DA MP, Phumzile van Damme demonstrates the futility of trying to enforce an 'us and them' approach with people coming from close neighbouring countries.
May I start by pointing out that the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright was born in then Czekoslovakia not the USA. That did not stop her from participating fully in the politics of her adopted country. I saw no reason why Phumzile's similar political career should be curtailed.
The nature of national borders in post-colonial Africa makes it futile to strictly police the movement of people. In fact along national borders without a distinct geographic barrier, people often do not know on which side of the border they were born.
Take for example Mozambicans who live between Mukumbura and Zambezi river. After Cabora Bassa dam was built the only way they could catch a bus to anywhere was walk into Zimbabwe first. It is therefore perfectly natural and reasonable to expect most of the them to have acquired Zimbabwean IDs.
In Malawi the main road from Balaka to the capital Lilongwe runs along the border with Mozambique on some parts. Hospitals and schools along this virtually unmarked border cater for people from either side of the border.
Colonial borders were arbitrarily drawn sometimes right down the middle of villages. Thus many people living along the border areas can pick and choose nationality depending on what is convenient for the moment.
Where my wife comes from, in Honde Valley along Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique, people used to live in Zimbabwe and plant the crops in Mozambique and vice versa. Movement was curtailed, but not completely stopped, after the border was heavily mined by the Rhodesians during Zimbabwe's second Chimurenga war.
Even along the famous, or is it infamous, crocodile infested river border, brothers' families live on either side of the river. In the 1980s I went to primary school in Harare with Tsveropile Tlou. A long term tenant at my father's house was a Mr Mbedzi. They were Zimbabweans.
Yet they could easily have moved to Thohoyandou or Louis Trichardt and lived as South Africans. I never bothered to find out on which side of the border they were born and to me it does not matter at all.
That is a fact of life South Africa cannot escape.
Surely, surely you cannot go about making people pay for the sins of colonialists, or even their parents. The digging into Phumzile van Damme's origins is just a xenophobic witch-hunt.
It is no different from Republican 'birthers' digging into Obama's origins and trying to prove he was not born in the USA and therefore should not be eligible for the office he holds.
If Phumzile has been living in South Africa as a South African because of choices made by her parents, how is her case different from that of Madeleine Albright?
It is an open secret that probably more than half the people passing themselves off as Zulus in Gauteng are actually Swazis and Zimbabwean Ndebele speakers. Some of their children do not even know that they have roots outside South Africa.
While Phumzile's parents may not have been perfectly honest about where she was born, she is still a South African.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Hendrik Botha
Together we can change the world

Nobody knows the future but we are all trying to create a tomorrow we are comfortable with and which will result in a past we are proud of. Read more...

0 comments 18 views
Submitted by
Essop Moola
Freeze - May I search you?

Can you legally refuse to be searched and if so when? Read more...

0 comments 6148 views
Submitted by
Lerato Kasa
Can Hlaudi Motsoeneng continue to...

All the efforts of undermining the public protector Ms Thuli Madonsela by the SABC Chief Operating Officer Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng has proven that he is not alone in such a bid.  Read more...

0 comments 1377 views
Submitted by
SA riders vs drivers: Biggest pet...

From ‘slapping side-mirrors’ to ‘changing lanes without indicating’, Wheels24 users share their biggest pet peeves about motorcyclists and car drivers in South Africa. Read more...

14 comments 8360 views
Submitted by
The problem with defining people ...

A while ago there was a spate of articles about white privilege that I really wanted to respond to but business being what it is I simply didn't get the time. However considering the racial nature that many of the discussions on all social media platforms soon descends to the topic is as relevant as ever. Read more...

0 comments 553 views
Submitted by
Yolanda Mtintsilana
I am a happy feminist

I am a happy feminist and I do not want a head in my house but two hands that are going work together to build a home.  Read more...

0 comments 789 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.