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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

Do South Africans Have ‘Xenophobia’ and Amnesia?

South Africans’ economy turns south and its hospitality goes sour; does Ghana learn any lesson?

BURIED INSIDE the news papers across the U.S was a noteworthy article about human’s ungratefulness in the highest proportion .It’s a classic example of humanity’s ability to store a good deed in the sand to ensure that the wind blows it away. The bad deed is always engraved on a rock to preserve its longevity. Do we have short memories or amnesia?

The newspapers are filled with horrible pictures of African immigrants in South Africa fleeing for their lives in droves. The South Africans’ anti-immigrants violence has left at least, 45 immigrants dead, and several injured, and there’s no end in sight.

South Africa, a nation of 48 million people with an estimated 5 million immigrants, most of who are from the neighboring countries has very high unemployment rate and the immigrants are the “scapegoats”. Ironically, the immigrants who are being wantonly attacking by south-Africans are from the countries which once upon a time, harbored their present and past black leadership; from the brutal hands of Apartheid. How soon do we forget?

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, and the entire African National Congress, leadership once sought refuge in the neighboring countries---the same countries whose citizens are the frontline recipients of the South Africans’ “vengeances”. What happened to the “Goodwill” the South Africans enjoyed, for so long during the liberation days?

What a shame!

With all that in mind, my question is: if Africans are doing such atrocities to their own brothers and sisters then what is preventing the western countries ,which are watching this terrible event unfolding; from taking a cue or two from it?.

From the way things are going it won’t be long before the entire world’s economy turns sour. And when that happens, I wonder how long our “hosts” will turn their anger and frustrations on us. Our newly –minted acquired citizenship can’t save us from the temperature of Xenophobic sentiments .Are we prepared?

It makes me wonder what else is likely to happen to all of us when situations in our host countries begin to fall apart. African leaders can no longer ignore the fact that we’re a continent of people, who move constantly, from our countries of birth to look for greener pastures. So the anti-foreign sentiment which is showing its ugly head is a cause for concern.

Africa is a continent from which its citizens have become virtually, permanent economic- exiles in the western world, that makes it a shame to witness Africans directing such atrocities against their own, in the name of anti-immigrants. .

Where are our leaderships?

We have to be careful about the way we handle these immigration issues on the continent, because today’s “host” could easily be tomorrow’s political and economic refugee. No position is permanent; especially in our part of the world where we never seem to have enough problems to deal with---if you know what I mean. .

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi Nj, USA