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Xenophobia: The After Effects

20 September 2012, 09:48

In 2008 we saw a wave of attacks on foreigners that left over 62 people dead and many more injured, displaced, homeless and destitute. Many reasons where brought up as to the reasons why there these attacks; but the most common case what that of deprivation. Understanding was foreigners where too much of a competition for jobs that were already scarce, for basic commodities and basic housing. The belief was foreigners can be charged exorbitant prices and still pay because they could afford. Foreigners were bribing their way to getting RDP houses that were meant for the underprivileged South Africans.

Its four (4) years down the line xenophobia is not a headliner but very much in existence. Foreigners that are legit, that have jobs and secure incomes still have it hard in South Africa. Not only is it hard within the work places, they still cannot purchase decent houses because of bank regulations that are clearly there to discourage buying of property by foreigners. They face discrimination in their places; for instance having foreign language other tan English spoken in order to exclude tem from social circles.

Recently a friend of mine has been trying to buy a house and is from Zimbabwe, with a good job, a proper work permit but he has been asked to provide a deposit of R200 000 cash for him to secure a house. Is that right? I mean, normally for a South African citizen a deposit of merely R10 000 is expected and you have a full bond from the bank.

There is no violence but the message is still as clear as the times when there was violence; leave our country, foreigners.  But how do we live just as South Africans when we need the expertise brought by some of the foreigners. To grow as a nation, we cannot just live as a single entity, as South Africans alone because the world is so full of ideas that we can use to grow as a nation.

Growth as a nation, as people starts with being able to coexist with other people of various nationalities. Instead of looking upon them as enemies, why not as a source of information, let’s learn from them as much as we can. Show me a nation that does not have potential that does not have foreigners? We are a nation that is developed well above many 3rd world countries and it would be a shame to see minds that are still backwards in a world class nation.

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