Xenophobia

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By: Davis Wesley Tusingwire

“Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders.
Claustrophobia – the fear of small/tight/enclosed spaces.
Xenophobia – the fear of foreigners.

However individuals who are afraid of spiders do not go around killing spiders, rather they avoid spiders. Equally, individuals who are afraid of small and tight spaces do not go around trying to eliminate the existence of small spaces.

Thus, xenophobia does not by definition imply the killing of foreigners. Yet, we continue to label this current wave of killings and murders in South Africa as xenophobic – and now the cooler term – “Afrophobic” attacks. Can we please just get real? What is happening in South Africa is genocide, a genocide fuelled by a deep-seated hatred for which no single foreigner is responsible.” – Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi.

Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi is a Nigerian. Born in Nigeria to two Nigerian parents and raised in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa by those same parents.

Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi goes further to indicate in this post here that if we think what she is putting forth is too extreme, then we need to revisit what Genocide is, which happens to be the systematic/targeted killing of a specific tribe or race.

Is this not what is happening in South Africa? Is it entirely true that when you have a phobia, you avoid it. But what triggered the killings in South Africa, where even the sight of a pregnant mother or her baby doesn’t stir compassion? A little baby is burnt to death, alive. Its crying goes unheard, for it’s drowned out by the songs of hatred of its attackers. Trying to figure this all out, in my little head and trying hard not to feel the pain stabbing at my shrinking heart, my mind drifts away to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. We felt it here too, and we still do. But what really triggers these moves across the world?

Countries attacking each other, as are almost normal in the Asian countries. The world watched in shock as the Hutus hacked their fellow countrymen, the Tutsis in a bloody genocide in Rwanda. In a space of about 100 days, thousands of people; children, women and men were murdered in cold blood. Families were wounded and broken or separated as the United Nations intervened. In 2014, the BBC released an in-depth report on the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame which implied that he could have fueled the genocide. His former close associates confessed so, in the story feature titled Rwanda: The Untold Story.

Is it the same thing happening in S.A? Did the leaders of those people insight this genocide on foreigners? It is ironical, that while they kill their African brethren, their white oppressors walk free in the land. The closest they could go to attacking them, was bringing down Cecil Rhodes’ statue. Cowards! Or should I say; hypocrites! The leaders denied having any involvement, the Zulu king to begin with, for it started in his township, and then the S.A President … begged his citizens to stop the killings.

As Africans, we are heartbroken. We cannot believe the nation we stood with while they suffered apartheid could turn against us. We could work out a few assumptions, basing on a few of the facts;

The actual people who carried out the brutal killings were actually the poor, the minority. It’s very easy to stir whatever emotion you want from such a group of people, because they are desperate. That need doesn’t allow them to think through their actions. They are like a greedy person biting off more than they can chew, unaware they will soon choke on it. Who said what?

The Zulu king, who was said to have said something that triggered the killings, and later denied any involvement, could have actually said something, but without such intention. Well, you see, he being king means he lives off the contributions from his people. And these people are the poor majority. The really well-to-do usually do not just give away their hard earned wealth to anyone. Meanwhile, professional foreigners are coming in to the area and doing what brought them, earn the most they can. This leaves the indigenous people poorer and unable to contribute as much to the king. Probably somebody pointed it out to him and in a bid to advise his people, it sparked more fire than he envisioned.

We could go on and on. But what form of justice can undo this? Families across Africa have lost their beloved; some have lost the sole bread earners, in such a manner that they can’t even have their bodies given a proper burial.

With globalization, we trade and live as one. The world is one global village! We acknowledge that not all South Africans agreed to or participated in these xenophobic attacks. There is a reason this happened and we pray that the souls who started this and those who still think such levels of violence are a solution to their problems, find peace in other hearts and feel the love from across the world. May they be moved by the gravity of their mistake and seek reconciliation with their African brethren. God is for us all.

For God and My Country!

Excerpts used in this post from Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi can be accessed on this link

Davis Wesley Tusingwire is a member of FESYLF (Uganda), you can follow him on twitter @w_tusingwire.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of FES

Identity Blues!

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By Davis Wesley Tusingwire

For little Jennie, going to one of the best schools in town, where your mother is a teacher and thus guaranteeing special treatment and extra access where students/pupils are concerned, was not such a big deal. She disliked how that particular environment worked against her true identity. See, she wasn’t looked at or treated as Jennie. Instead she was expected to be more than she could be at the time. She probably had the potential to be more, but constantly comparing her to elder sister Judith wasn’t exactly helping. Teachers punished her because she did not write as well as her sister, did not dress as smartly as her sister and for a teacher’s daughter, did not perform as excellently. No body cared about who she really was.

She is not the only one. We have heard stories about mistaken identity, mixed personalities, misjudgement, among others. An identity crisis is common among teenagers across the world, as they discoover themselves and their abilities. Books have been writen and movies have acted about this issue.

And yet it doesn’t end there. Beloved and now fallen, former NTV News anchor Rosemary Nankabirwa endured the bitter words from critiques when someone leaked a picture of her, sick and frailing . To the public, she and all the other public figures are regarded as super human and therefore not expected to be as human as everyone else. It is funny to think, people were surprised she could look that way, as though she was born on Mars. They are human, like you and me and therefore, bound to suffer illnesses, eat the same kind of food, gain or lose weight or even die. Just like everybody else. But alas! A very dangerous stereotype is attached to their identity and we see them misjudged if they dressed differently from what we expect of them, or visited places we think are way below their standards. We almost think they are immortal.

During Easter prayers, a Burundian National dorning a Rick Ross look alike beard was arrested at Rubaga cathedral in Uganda where he had gone for service and detained on suspicion of being a terrorist, all because of his beard. Most terrorist attacks across the world have been linked to the Muslim fraternity, who as a cultural practice grow a beard; for whatever reasons, and this young man could have innocently grown one too, unaware that it would get him into trouble.

Ladies have been called sluts/whores because they dared expose more flesh than the ordinary woman.

Men have been branded homosexuals because they are more soft spoken than their brothers, or because they have a pierced ear or because they prefer brighter colors in their wardrobe among others.

Not so long ago there was a debate on social networks especially Facebook and the mainstream media in Uganda as to who is the fairest? This discussion centred on our current Miss Uganda-Miss Leah Kalanguka who upon being crowned, was criticized and demonised for being ugly because of one poorly taken photograph of her that appeared on the scene. The criticism arose from the angle and comparison with the the recently crowned Miss Rwanda who was deemed and declared a true beauty due to her appearance on the outside.

We have witnessed some people being harrased because they are related to a given person or are over worshiped because of the same.

And through all this, nobody seems to notice what they have to endure, if they manage to make their true self shine through. Many go unrecognised most of the time.

Families are distabilized by identity battles. Children want to be their own person but their parents/guardians want them to be something else. Siblings compete with each other, and of course the brightest usually steals the show and the other(s) are almost forgotten. In schools teachers favor some for given attributes and forget the others. And those forgotten are teased/bullied so badly, sometimes they never recover from it. In workplaces we see superiors harrass their subordinates of out of insecurity. They fear their identity in the company will be overshadowed by those they lead, and so they feel threatened.

Identity is a broad and sensitive issue. It is encouraged though, to always give each individual an opportunity to identify themselves and decide what/who they want to be remembered as. It can be hard to accept others for who they truely are, but since we all need to be accepted or want to impose on others what they should be, it’s only fair that we let them be. It is easier to live with a happier person, regardless of their identity crisis.

What is identity? What identifies us?

The author of this piece is a member of FESYLF (Uganda). The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of FES

You can follow him on twitter on this his handle @w_tusingwire