September 13, 2019

The other side of the story

South Africa

By Donu Kogbara

I HAVE quite a few bitter gripes against South Africa at the moment and roundly condemn the shoddy treatment I have recently received from the South African High Commission in Abuja and the evil thugs who have killed and bankrupted blameless Nigerians in South Africa.

But we ourselves are not saints. Some Nigerians in South Africa are loudmouthed verbal aggressors or shameless criminals, and I totally agree with every single word that an un-named and softly-spoken South African man said in a video he has posted online. I’ve transcribed it so I can share it with Vanguard readers as follows:

“…I wanted to [respond to] some of the things that some Nigerians say about us Black South Africans – that we are lazy, they call us slaves, they say that South Africa is not a ‘real African country’; they tell us that we are nothing without White people…

“…These types of insults from Nigerians are very old in this country, so it’s not something that started with xenophobia. And it’s interesting how they call us slaves, but they are the ones wanting to live in the country of slaves! They are the ones complaining about how difficult it is to get [SA] visa…They are the ones who have to queue at the home office department and all the refugee centres in the country struggling to get documentation for this country. We are not the ones wanting to go and live in Nigeria.

“When Nigerians say that we are nothing without White people, I sometimes get offended. But then, if I think about it, I shouldn’t really be offended because most…Nigerians and West Africans, in general, tend to put White people on this pedestal…In fact…some Nigerians even wish to be re-colonised and they lament and say that they got independence way too early, and, you know, they love pointing at South Africa and saying that…[SA is developed because it was] the last [African] country to get independence.

“So really to have some Nigerians wanting to be re-colonised, so that their country would be more ‘developed’ really speaks to the failure of Nigeria…

Also read: FG to construct bridges, roads across Niger state

“…[Meanwhile] Nigerians love pointing out how smart they are, how educated they are, but the thing is, what is the point of being smart, and what is the point of being educated if you can’t use all of that knowledge to uplift your own people? Then, what’s the point?

“You know, Nigeria is one of the most underdeveloped countries in Africa, that struggles with basic infrastructure such as electricity. You know, there are so many countries in Africa that are doing so much better than Nigeria, that got a quality of life that is so much better than Nigeria…Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, South Africa Seychelles;  but the people from those countries, you’ll never ever hear them talk about how smart they are, talk about how important they are.

“Now, if you are a person that is very pompous and you think you are above everybody, I don’t mind, to be honest, I truly don’t care. But you got to be able to back it up. Don’t tell me about how smart you are, show me how smart you are.

“Nigerians come to this country for a lot of things. Whether it’s to shoot their music videos, whether it’s for medical services, whether it’s for university education, whether it’s to shoot some of their TV shows. But do you ever hear us using any of that to try to show people and to show other Africans how big and important we are?

Socio-economic problems

“So, like, everybody is laughing at you behind your back because you love having very big opinions about other people and other countries and their socio-economic problems but the gag is you’re the one without electricity, you’re the ones without roads and healthcare!

“So before you try and call me out on my xenophobia, I think that you need to have a look in the mirror because there is xenophobia in Nigeria, OK? Nigerians, they may have not killed Africans from other African countries…but they treat immigrants from other African countries with disdain. [And let’s not forget] the homophobic killings in Nigeria, the tribal killings in Nigeria, the religious killings in Nigeria…the ethnic killings in Nigeria.

“So why do you have selective outrage when it comes to hate crimes? You see South Africans committing hate crimes, you’ve got a very big problem. But you yourself are doing the exact same thing.

“I do not really have a problem with Nigerians; it’s just that I’ve met a whole lot of very arrogant Nigerians. Now I don’t have a problem with arrogance OK, but you have got to be able to back it up!”

Well said!!!