There's No Need for South Africans to be "More African"

2014-05-27 08:42

Former President Thambo Mbeki's recital of the I Am an African poem will go down as one of the most powerful moments to befall the Parliament of South Africa. And indeed by it and more, I (and many of you) are African. However, in the events of last weekend, I was so confused as to what Africa Day was. I'd never heard of it before I saw the hashtags on Twitter. So this morning I read an op-ed on Fin24 with some professor at Stellenbosch University saying we [South Africans] should be more African. I think South Africans are more African than everyone else north of here.

Being more African according to many means that we should accept other Africans. We in fact, do that very well. These [non-South African] Africans arrived here on the pretense of making their lives better, but so far that's meant selling illegal drugs and conducting themselves in crime. It's also meant favouring their own in restaurant jobs in malls like Canal Walk (that before their mass exodus into SA where mainly occupied by our fellow black folk). How then, can I, who is a proud South African suppose to feel about people whose arrival here, on average hasn't benefited South Africa one bit? Okay cool, maybe those are the makings of xenophobia, which is something I do not condone because it's vile and uncivilised. Instead, let me make another example.

Here's a young (South African) mother having to wait at the back of the line at a public clinic because there are 30 other people in front of her who also happen to be in need of medical attention. Thing is, half of them are not even South African. God knows no one must ever be turned down when they are ill, but one (well certainly I) can't help but feel that this is a drain on our very limited resources, at the expense of good South African folk who, yes, deserve it more.

The two points above make issue of this whole South Africans should be more African thing from our own internal problems. Looking at Africa outside of our borders, there's just nothing to be proud about a vile and war-torn continent. Sure, the West can be blamed for many of this, but let's be honest with ourselves, if Africans wanted to change, they would have. Instead, they elect bad leaders (no, Jacob Zuma is just a questionable leader but he's got a good thing going on here). I also don't know what goes on in these people's minds when they parade the names of these men who've led them for decades without helping them progress their lives. How then are we as South Africans expected to be proud and relate to people who have little going on for them in terms of the basic needs for a progressive and humane society?

I don't know, maybe my leanings are informed by a neo-liberal “Western” thinking, but dammit, South Africans have a good thing going here, there's no need to feel more African by embracing the bullshit that happens in other African nations and the problems associated with the influx of illegal migrants.

South Africans are African, full stop, and we need not go any further than what we are right now. How about those countries become “more African” by adopting the success that South Africa has done in integrating our many tribes into one people.

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